Amber Alert canceled for 3-year-old Wapato girl, suspect in custody
A 3-year-old girl missing out of Wapato has been found safe.
Authorities canceled the Amber Alert for Melody Lopez on Tuesday evening, saying the suspect who took her is now in custody.
According to Wapato police, 32-year-old Jose Lopez-Madrigal waited for Melody’s mother and toddler to get home Monday afternoon, standing outside an apartment near South Kateri Lane.
When the mother arrived about 4:30 p.m. with 3-year-old Melody, police said Lopez-Madrigal asked the mother to read a note written on a cell phone he was holding.
Police said when the mother repeatedly refused, Lopez-Madrigal grabbed the girl and took off, with the mother running after him.
Lopez-Madrigal reportedly pulled out a knife and brandished it at the mother, who stopped and ran back to get help from a neighbor.
As Lopez-Madrigal was pulling away, the neighbor was able to take a picture of the blue 1999 Honda Odyssey minivan with Washington plates and license number ANH1733.
Police said the lengthy note left behind on the cell phone contains information indicating Lopez-Madrigal is suicidal. Investigators also believe Lopez-Madrigal planned to take the toddler before the incident occurred.
A little over three hours later, at about 8 p.m., Lopez-Madrigal was spotted on foot near South Wasco Avenue and West Fifth Street — about a mile from where Melody was taken.
Police believed Lopez-Madrigal was able to call someone to come pick him and the toddler up from the area.
At 8:22 p.m., authorities put out an AMBER Alert with descriptions of Lopez-Madrigal, Melody and the vehicle they were believed to be traveling in.
Shortly after, officers found Lopez-Madrigal’s minivan abandoned in a parking lot near West Fourth Street and South Yakima Avenue, a few blocks away from where he was spotted.
Police said Lopez-Madrigal has not been a part of Melody’s life for at least six months and does not have custody of her, adding that they believed she was in danger.