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Amber Alert canceled for 2 children taken from Arizona DCS custody

Blaze and Ryder Kirkley (Florence PD Photos)

PHOENIX — An Amber Alert was canceled Tuesday for two children who were found safe in Louisiana. They had been taken from Arizona Department of Child Safety custody in Florence earlier in the day.

According to Louisiana State Police, Blaze (2 years old) and Ryder (almost 5 months old) Kirkley were found around 11 p.m. Arizona time in Bienville Parish.

Police said they identified the 2008 Dodge pickup from the alert traveling on Interstate 20 and pulled it over. They took parents Melissa Joy Gladden and Jerry Jay Kirkley, both 34, into custody.

The children are in Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services custody, while Gladden and Kirkley are being held by police on felony warrants issued by the Pinal County Superior Court.

A spokeswoman for the Florence Police Department told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the boys were taken while Gladden, a Florence resident, visited them.

“There was a safety monitor that was assigned to the residence,” the spokeswoman said. “The safety monitor had left the residence, and when she returned home, she notified the Florence Police Department that the children, along with the mother, were missing.”

Police initially said the family was possibly headed to Louisiana or Mississippi, where Kirkley lives.

They said Kirkley has a history of domestic violence and is known to carry weapons.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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