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Durango father suspected of kidnapping his children and taking them to Kauai

Three young kids, who stayed in a homeless camp on the island, are now home with their mother

Three young children are home safe after allegedly being kidnapped by their father and taken to live in a homeless camp in Hawaii.

Jeremiah Sturk, 60, was arrested by authorities in Kauai, Hawaii, on March 14. Sturk was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and violation of a custody order, both felonies.

The court-appointed parenting plan for the children’s custody stipulates the children cannot be taken out of the state of Colorado.

The La Plata County District Attorney’s Office has begun the process to have Sturk extradited back to Colorado.

Mother Jennifer Maley, 42, who lives in the Cascade Creek area north of Purgatory, became alarmed when she could not reach her three children, an 8-year-old daughter and two sons ages 6 and 3, during the court-appointed call time in the two days after she dropped the children off with Sturk March 10.

“Basically he lied about where he and the children would be staying,” Maley said. “And so when he wasn’t picking up the phone I knew something was wrong. So then I called the motel on March 12 where he said he would be staying that weekend, because he was in a transition period between places. And the motel had no record of him staying there or staying in the room that he said he would be staying in.”

Maley hung up the phone and immediately called the Durango Police Department to file a report. DPD called Maley back March 14 to stay Sturk had been located and arrested in Kauai and that the children were with child protective services. Maley met the children in Kauai on March 15.

“They are doing really well now,” said Maley, who is now back home with the children. She said her daughter was severely sunburned, and one of her son’s had a bad sunburn on his ears.

Durango Police Department worked in conjunction with the Kauai Police Department, who along with the FBI, TSA and Homeland Security, located Sturk by pinging his cellphone, according to DPD and Maley.

The children did not report any abuse to authorities or their mother, she said.

“They just said that, in their own words, ‘That we were staying in a tent around a lot of creepy homeless people that smoked cigarettes.’”

Maley and Sturk, who were never married, updated their court-appointed parenting plan in October, said Maley, who added that Sturk had moved about 12 times in the last four years to different places in the Durango area.

“I just believe he needs to be held accountable for disappearing with our children,” Maley said when asked what she wants to happen now. “I mean, it was a major violation of our parenting plan.”


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