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Toddler Abducted In Lake Elsinore Found Safe In Las Vegas; Father Suspected Of Killing Boy's Mother Arrested

LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA) — A man suspected of murdering his girlfriend and then abducting the couple's two-year-old son in Lake Elsinore, prompting an Amber Alert, was captured Tuesday evening in Las Vegas. The boy was also found safe.

Amber Alert Issued For Missing 1-Year-Old Celestine Stoot In Lake Elsinore; Father Is Homicide Suspect
An Amber Alert was issued July 5, 2021, for Celestine Stoot III, who is believed to have been abducted by her father, 42-year-old Celestine Stoot, Jr., in Lake Elsinore, Calif. (California Highway Patrol)

Forty-two-year-old Celestine John Stoot Jr. is suspected of killing his girlfriend, 43-year-old Natasha Denise Barlow of San Jacinto, and abducting their toddler son, Celestine Stoot III, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.

Stoot Jr. was taken into custody Tuesday in Las Vegas and Stoot III was found safe sometime before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, the situation began at about 4 p.m. Monday, when deputies were called to a home in the 17000 block of Hayes Avenue in Lakeland Village, where they found Barlow dead from gunshot wounds.

They later identified Barlow's boyfriend, Stoot Jr., as the suspect, and learned that he had fled with Celestine, prompting California Highway Patrol to issue an Amber Alert.

mother daughter
An undated photo of Natasha Denise Barlow and her daughter Celestine Stoot III. Barlow was found dead in a home in Lake Elsinore, Calif., on July 5, 2021. (Credit: Barlow family)

"We don't know what this man is capable of, if he would kill the mother of his child in front of his child, he is capable of anything," Lakeisha Barlow, the victim's sister, told CBSLA Tuesday.

Barlow was a mother to eight children, her family said.

The circumstances that lead up to the killing are unclear.  There's no word on how authorities tracked Stoot Jr. to Las Vegas.

Stoot Jr. is being held in a Clark County jail. He is scheduled to have a fugitive hearing on Thursday.

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