PD: Dad abducts kids, abandons them, steals car

Posted at 12:29 PM, Feb 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-14 00:19:49-05

An Amber Alert that had been issued for two children and their mother who were abducted by their father Saturday morning has been canceled. The children and woman were safely located in Phoenix on Saturday afternoon, officials said. 

The suspect, Heriberto Mendoza, was outstanding but later taken into custody by police. 
Officials say Mendoza assaulted the 25-year-old mother of his children, Alexis Escalante, dragged her to his vehicle and took the kids, a 5-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy, as well. 
According to the Phoenix Police Department someone spotted the red 2002 Dodge Ram pickup truck the man was believed to be driving near 27th Avenue and Thomas Road. The vehicle stopped in the area of 27th Street and Cactus Road, and Mendoza fled from the truck leaving behind Escalante and his children. 
Mendonza then forced the driver of a white Dodge Charger to vacate the vehicle, and Mendoza began driving the car. The Dodge vehicle came to a stop near 62nd and Glendale avenues, where police were able to take Mendoza into custody. 
Police were able to safely locate Escalante and her children when Mendoza abandoned his truck. Escalante was assaulted by Mendoza and suffered injuries, police said, however the children were not injured.
The Surprise Police Department is still investigating the incident and it's likely that Mendoza will face kidnapping and assault charges. The Phoenix Police Department will likely charge the man with additional charges. Mendoza will be booked into the Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail at the conclusion of the investigation, police said. 
Stay with ABC15 for updates.