Wapato police: Father brandished knife, took 3-year-old from mother and ran

Amber Alert

WAPATO, Wash. — It’s been more than 24 hours since police said a father grabbed his 3-year-old daughter away from her mother at a Wapato home, brandished a knife and fled in a minivan.

According to Wapato police, 32-year-old Jose Lopez-Madrigal waited for the 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 Lopez, 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 believe 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 believe she is in danger.

Melody was last seen wearing a white and red striped shirt and grey leggings. She has brown eyes, black hair and is 2′ 11” tall.

Lopez-Madrigal has brown eyes, black hair, is 5′ 7” tall, weighs about 150 pounds, has a mustache and was last seen wearing a grey or black baseball cap.

If you see them, please call 911, or the Wapato Police Department at 509-877-4275.

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