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U.S. Marshals recover 2-year-old girl taken by father after officer-involved shooting

Posted at 1:21 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-19 01:26:48-04

MESA, AZ — An officer-involved shooting near 19th and Southern avenues led to the recovery of a missing Mesa 2-year-old girl, who was abducted Thursday night by her father.

Ezmeralda Tineo was taken from Mesa near Baseline Road and Val Vista Drive by her biological father, 39-year-old Esau Tineo, who does not have any custodial rights over the toddler, according to Mesa police.

The family of Ezmeralda was concerned for her safety due to her father’s recent erratic behavior.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force were searching for Tineo Friday on charges of kidnapping, misconduct involving weapons, aggravated assault and stalking.

U.S. Marshals say the father had an extensive and violent criminal history including burglary, armed robbery, aggravated assault and prior weapons offenses.

Tineo reportedly drove off from the location during the kidnapping, and was dragging the child's mother and grandmother as they attempted to grab the child. He was reported to be carrying a handgun at the time of the kidnapping.

U.S. Marshals also say Tineo was known to make threats of violence against law enforcement, and "vowing to shoot it out with police if he did not get to see his daughter."

Task Force members were able to track down Tineo at a home near 59th Avenue and Thomas Road, and saw him leave the home with Ezmeralda. Task Force members then attempted to make contact with Tineo, and were unsuccessful, as he drove around police vehicles, into oncoming traffic, and on the sidewalk.

Officials say Ezmeralda was seen inside of the vehicle without safety restraints.

They then made contact with Tineo at 19th and Southern avenues, and during their attempt to arrest him, an officer-involved shooting took place.

Task Force members say Ezmeralda Tineo was uninjured, recovered from the vehicle and has been safely returned to her family.

Further details involving the shooting were not disclosed.