2 young children found safe in New Hampshire after police search for father following mother’s death

Mar 1, 2024, 8:23 AM | Updated: 2:44 pm

MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) — Two young children who were the subject of an extensive search by New Hampshire police were found safe at a restaurant parking lot Friday, and the father was in police custody, authorities said.

Police had earlier issued an Amber Alert after finding the children’s mother dead Thursday night at an apartment in the city of Berlin.

The children were found at an Applebee’s restaurant parking lot in the city of Keene, about 170 miles (275 kilometers) away, and details of what had transpired were still unfolding, said Michael Garrity, a spokesperson for New Hampshire’s attorney general.

“I can confirm that the kids are both safe and that he is with police in Keene, New Hampshire,” Garrity said. “I don’t have any further details yet.”

Witness Rick Fuller said he saw about five local police cars and a state trooper converge on a white car in the parking lot between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Fuller, who owns Rick’s Gourmet Ice Cream store across the street, said there were no sirens and the event seemed relatively low key and controlled. He saw only two officers draw their weapons while others did not.

Fuller said his view was partially obscured, but he saw one officer holding a small girl and then a woman came over and put two blankets on her. He said an ambulance also showed up.

He said he knew immediately what was happening because he had received the Amber Alert.

“I was just surprised that they ended up in Keene,” Fuller said.

Authorities had issued the Amber Alert just after 4 a.m. for the abduction of 4-year-old Elowyn Duren and 1-year-old Vaelyn Duren from Berlin.

Authorities had said the father, Dusten Mark Duren, 37, was possibly armed and dangerous and shouldn’t be approached. He was driving a white 2017 Subaru Impreza with veteran license plates, which was last seen in the capital, Concord. He was described as about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds.

Attorney General John Formella said police first responded about 10:30 p.m. Thursday to the Main Street apartment, where they found the body of 31-year-old Caitlyn Naffziger, the children’s mother.

Formella said in a release that an autopsy has been scheduled for Friday afternoon and the death is suspicious. Authorities said that before they were found in Keene, the children were last seen in Berlin with their father about 8 p.m. Thursday.

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2 young children found safe in New Hampshire after police search for father following mother’s death