YUBA CITY (CBS13) — Seconds after an Amber Alert was issued for two missing children in Oroville, a chance encounter by an alert citizen led to an arrest in Yuba City.
The whole ordeal started at 7 a.m. in Oroville and ended in Yuba City, just nine minutes after the alert was issued.
As he was on the road, Lally Ghutty looked down and saw an Amber Alert notification on his iPhone. Literally seconds later, he glanced to the left at a Yuba City parking lot.
Unbelievably, the blue minivan he saw, completely by chance, was the suspect's minivan.
It was so unlikely, Lally wasn't sure at first, so he kept going. But just up the road, something told him to turn back.
"My gut told me let's go check it out you know," he said.
Lally pulled into the parking lot, and sure enough, the license plate matched. As he dialed 911, the van pulled off. But Lally wasn't about to let it out of his sight.
"I was kind of worried about those kids, I guess," he said. "There was three little kids back there you know?"
The Butte County Sheriff's Department says Matthew Kline of Oroville kidnapped three children, including two of his own, 3-year-old Ella Kline and 1-year-old Aiden.
Deputies say Kline's wife reported some of his guns were missing and he was acting like he was on drugs.
Lally followed the van to Highway 20 and 99. When police showed up, it brought a remarkably quick conclusion to the Amber Alert:
2:30 p.m.: The cellphone notification went out
2:34 p.m.: Lally called 911
2:39 p.m.: Kline was in custody, and all three children were found safe.
"Nine minutes turnaround time from the time people were notified, to the time officers had those children is fantastic," said Shawna Pavey with the Yuba City Police Department.
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