SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ - New details have emerged after an Amber Alert was issued Friday night for three young girls.
According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s office, the girls, ages 12 to 16, were reported as runaways from their San Tan Valley home by their foster mother last Friday morning.
According to PCSO, the foster mother checked on the girls around 5 a.m. and it appeared they were sleeping.
When she checked again at 9 a.m. she discovered they were missing and had covered pillows with their bedding to make it look like they were in bed.
The foster mother reported to deputies that one of the girls suffers from a life-threatening illness that requires medication.
Deputies searched the neighborhood and checked with friends in an effort to find the girls.
They learned that two of the girls are biological sisters and the third is unrelated. They also found out that the sisters had been in touch with their biological mother, Veronica Frances Aleksiejczyk-Rivera, 43, whose parental rights had been severed in 2010.
An Amber Alert was issued Friday night for Aleksiejczyk-Rivera, the girls and a tan Ford Bronco the woman was believed to be driving.
As the Amber Alert was being sent out, a Department of Public Safety officer found the vehicle abandoned in Mesa.
PCSO detectives learned where Aleksiejczyk-Rivera and her boyfriend, Martin Leon-Villanueva,48, were living in Mesa and began surveillance on the residence.
Around 8:30 p.m. the adults and three girls were seen walking near the residence and the woman and man were taken into custody.
Investigators learned that the girls had waited for their foster family to go to bed before sneaking out of the house around 1:30 a.m.
They met up with Aleksiejczyk-Rivera who began driving them to Mesa when her vehicle broke down.
The suspect left the car where it had broken down and got a ride to her Mesa residence.
When she was interviewed by detectives, Aleksiejczyk-Rivera admitted picking the girls up from San Tan Valley but tried to minimize her involvement and placed blame on the girls, according to PCSO.
Leon-Villanueva reportedly told investigators that he didn’t know about the girls being picked up until he got home, but said he did know one of the girls suffers a life-threatening illness and didn’t report the incident because he is in the country illegally and feared being deported.
Both adults were arrested and booked into jail on three counts each of kidnapping, endangerment, child abuse and custodial interference.