A father who allegedly kidnapped his two teenage sons from Coalinga with the help of his stepdad was arrested Friday morning in Arizona as they were making their way to North Carolina.
Coalinga police said the boys, ages 13 and 15, were kidnapped from their grandparents’ home on the 1700 block of Echo Canyon Avenue about 11:25 p.m. Thursday.
The boys’ custodial grandfather told officers he found the window screen to his grandsons’ bedroom pushed out. He then feared his grandsons were taken to North Carolina by their father, who had been released from prison in February. The boys’ mother had sent the grandfather a Facebook message earlier in the week asking him to allow the boys to visit her in North Carolina.
When one of the boy’s friends told police their father was going to pick them up in Coalinga, they tracked the boys’ location to eastbound Interstate 40 with help from a cellphone provider. The Coalinga Police Department worked closely with the Ash County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina to contact the mother, who also confirmed the father and his stepfather were on their way with the boys.
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The father, 36-year-old David Mahala, and his stepfather, Harold Hurley, were found and arrested by Arizona Department of Public Safety officers outside of Flagstaff. The boys were unharmed.
Coalinga police is working with Arizona authorities to arrange the return of the boys to their grandparents.