ROGERS (KFSM) - Authorities have found a two-year-old boy abducted from his Rogers home Thursday (Dec. 18) morning. Deputies in Atoka, Okla., found the boy safe and arrested the suspect Thursday afternoon, according to Rogers police.
Police said someone who saw an Amber Alert issued earlier in the day for the missing boy called 911 and reported seeing the vehicle believed to be driven by Brent Wilks, the suspect in the abduction. Atoka County deputies stopped the vehicle, recovered the child and arrested Wilks, Rogers police said.
The incident ends a 12-hour search for two-year-old Alex Gage Almodovar. Police said he is in good health and remains in Oklahoma's Child Protective Services until he is released to his family.
"The real hero is the person that actually recognized that car then called the police department and got him stopped. I wish I knew who they were. I'd send them a Christmas card," said Officer Keith Foster, public information officer for Rogers police.
Police said Wilks is facing felony charges of kidnapping, domestic battery, terroristic threatening and fleeing. They said he is being held at the Atoka County Sheriff's Department awaiting extradition to the Benton County Jail.
Alex was reported abducted at 2:37 a.m. Thursday, when officers responded to 2703 Highlands Drive regarding a report of a disturbance. When police arrived, they met with a woman who told them she got into a physical fight with Wilks, 30, her boyfriend. The child was present at the time of the fight, and Wilks left with the child, police said.
Justin Bishop is Alex's grandfather and said since Wilks isn't the boy's biological father, he thinks he abducted Alex to get back at the child's mother.
"I think he took the baby in desperation, to keep control over the mother and manipulate her with the baby," Bishop said.
Authorities issued a Level 2 Morgan Nick Amber Alert, saying the boy may be in danger. Law enforcement agencies across the area then joined the search for Wilks. Foster said the combined effort from local and state agencies helped find the missing toddler.
"You're always relieved and a little bit ecstatic, like, hey, we got him recovered, we found him and he's not injured, so that's a win for us," Foster said. "So, a great day for those guys and again they did a wonderful job chasing down every little lead and following up on everything that they had."
Wilks' criminal history includes arrests on suspicion of leaving the scene of an injury accident and criminal mischief, both in 2008. He was also arrested in 2007 and 2010 on suspicion of drug charges.
Police said Wilks is on parole. He entered state prison in 2010 to serve a 10-year sentence after he was convicted in a drug case. He was paroled in 2012, records show.
Wilks is the manager at B&G Liquors in Rogers, police said.
Neighbors who live in Alex Almodovar's neighborhood said they're relieved the child was found quickly.
"I was just thrilled to death," said Paul Platter, who has lived a couple doors down from the child's family for 9 years. "Although I've never met the boy, we're right here together and I was absolutely delighted to see that this had been found."
Platter said he had been praying for Alex's safe return all day.
"To have something big like this happen in your front yard," he said. "It's kind of an unusual type of day."
Platter said the incident brought the whole neighborhood together.
"The neighborhood will be as good as it was before, if not even better," he said.