Sheriff: Mankato woman kidnapped children from foster home - KMSP-TV

Sheriff: Mankato woman kidnapped children from foster home

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Reina Gandarilla Reina Gandarilla

Police in Mankato, Minn., are still looking for a woman they say kidnapped her two children on Tuesday, issuing a nationwide alert and warrant for her arrest.

The Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office said 21-year old Reina Marie Gandarilla took her 2-year-old and 4-month-old from a foster home on Tuesday afternoon.

Gandarilla is wanted on a felony charge of depriving another of custodial or parental rights. It carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

Gandarilla had her parental rights to the children suspended in October, and her children were placed in foster care at that time. Officials say she was still allowed contact, but not custody.

Mankato police have since issued a nationwide search for 2-year-old Isiaah and 4-month-old Iyanna Gandarilla. Officials do not believe Gandarilla has access to a vehicle, but it is possible someone came and picked up her and her children while the foster family was away.

Officers searched for Gandarilla and her children for most of the day Tuesday after Gandarilla sent a text to the foster parents to say she was taking the children to urgent care. Police say she never returned or appeared at a clinic.

The search remains ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office at 507-387-5601.

A neighbor of foster family told FOX 9 News the foster parents are good people who have welcomed foster kids for years and no one should suspect the kidnapping is their fault.

Neighbors say Gandarilla had recently moved in with the family herself, which is something the family had done through a program called Whole Family Foster Care in the past. The goal is to teach the mothers how to care for their children and eventually transition the family to living together on their own.

Capt. Rich Murray, of the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office, explained that Gandarilla's parental rights were suspended based on a Human Services investigation, but not for any criminal actions.

"We don't think she took them with the intention of harming them at all, but we do have some concerns for their welfare," Murray said.

The Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the custodial order was modified in November so that Gandarilla and the children could be placed in the same foster home.

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