An Amber Alert issued Monday was deactivated Tuesday evening after a 2-year-old boy from Riverside County was found safe in Las Vegas and his biological father was taken into custody, officials said.
The mother, 43-year-old Natasha Denise Barlow of San Jacinto, was found dead on Monday inside a home in the 17000 block of Hayes Avenue in Lakeland Village.
Her boyfriend and father of her child, Celestine John Stoot Jr. of Lake Elsinore, was identified as a suspect in her death, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators believe Stoot Jr. fled the area after the killing with his son, Celestine Stoot III, prompting an Amber Alert as law enforcement worked to find the suspect and the young boy.
Around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Stoot Jr. and his son were found in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Sheriff’s Department said. The 2-year-old was unharmed and law enforcement was in the process of reuniting him with his family Tuesday evening.
Stoot Jr. will be booked into the Clark County jail pending his extradition to Riverside County, the department said.
Barlow’s family told KTLA earlier Tuesday that they were desperate to find the child before anything happened to him.
“If you see my nephew or anything, just call the police … just say something,” one of Barlow’s sisters said as they sat together pleading for the child’s return.
The words “child abduction” were lit up on highways across multiple counties in Southern California Tuesday, along with multiple license plate numbers officials believed the charcoal grey 2020 Kia Optima vehicle the pair were traveling in could be carrying.
Lakeisha Barlow, the victim’s sister, said she called authorities for a welfare check when she couldn’t reach her sister. That’s when she found out she had been fatally shot, according to the family.
The family told KTLA they believe Barlow was shot after an argument. Officials have not provided information on how the mother died.
The victim’s other sister, Genique Stanford, said Barlow leaves behind seven children.
“She has four young children, from 15 to 2 years old, who need their mom and who now don’t have a mom,” Stanford said. “I just hope that they would think about that before they consider helping this person who did this to her. She did not deserve that.”
Authorities have not released further details about the circumstances under which the boy and father were found Tuesday. The investigation is ongoing.
Those with information on the case are encouraged to contact homicide Investigator Magana at 951-955-2777.