AMBER Alert issued for two Great Falls children

Posted at 6:40 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 21:32:50-04

(UPDATE, 7:12 pm) The GFPD says that the two children have been found and are safe. The GFPD said that thanks to the Amber Alert system several community members recognized the vehicle near Vaughn just outside of Great Falls and called 911.

Ezekiel and Savannah are safe; Martinez and Dahl are in police custody.

The GFPD thanked the community for sharing the information and keeping a keen eye out, these kids are safe because of you, adding #ittakesavillage.

The GFPD also said: "A big thank you to our fellow law enforcement officers from the CCSO for their quick response and getting the children to safety."

(1st REPORT, 6:40 pm) An AMBER Alert has been issued by the Montana Department of Justice on Monday afternoon for two Great Falls children.

According to the Great Falls Police Department, Ezekiel and Savanna Gonzalez were taken from school at 1 p.m. by their non-custodial mother, Isabella Martinez, and Davin Dahl.

They are reported to be in a dark blue 1998 Cadillac DeVille with Montana license plate 2-66011B.

  • EZEKIEL: 8 year old boy, black hair, brown eyes, 3’ tall, 40 pounds
  • SAVANNAH: 7 year old girl, brown hair, brown eyes, 3’ tall, 35 pounds
  • MARTINEZ: 26 year old woman, brown hair, hazel eyes, 5’4” tall, 160 pounds
  • DAHL: 30 year old man, brown hair, hazel eyes, 6’ tall, 140 pounds

The children are believed to be in danger as they were recently removed from their mother’s care, according to the AMBER Alert. Anyone who sees them or has any information is asked to call the GFPD at 406-727-7688, or 911.

No other details have been released at this point; we will update you if we get more information.

Whenever a child is reported missing in Montana, law enforcement agencies work quickly to determine the circumstances, and whether or not to issue an AMBER Alert, or a Missing/Endangered Person Advisory (MEPA). The AMBER Alert program started in Texas in 1996 after 9-year old Amber Hagerman was abducted and murdered. In response to community concern, broadcasters in the area teamed up with law enforcement agencies to establish a program capable of quickly distributing information about child abductions to the general public.

In memory of Amber, the program was called the AMBER Plan – America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. In Montana, officials also have the option of issuing a Missing/Endangered Person Advisory.

Here is the difference between the two:

AMBER ALERT: All of the following criteria must be met, according to the MT DOJ:

  • There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that a child has been abducted or has disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
  • The missing child is age 17 years or younger, or has a proven mental or physical disability.
  • The law enforcement agency believes the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
  • There is enough descriptive information about the victim and abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
  • The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.

The AMBER Alert system is not used to track runaways, missing children or children involved in custody disputes. The program is restricted to child abduction cases that could be life threatening.

MISSING/ENDANGERED PERSON ADVISORY: A MEPA Advisory is initiated solely by Montana law enforcement agencies using the following criteria, according to the MT DOJ:

  1. Do the circumstances fail to meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert?
  2. Is the person missing under unexplained, involuntary or suspicious circumstances?
  3. Is the person believed to be in danger because of age, health, mental or physical disability, or environmental or weather conditions; to be in the company of a potentially dangerous person; or is there some other factor that may put the person in peril?
  4. Is there information that could assist the public in the safe recovery of the missing person? The initial advisory will include any available information, like name, age, physical description, date of birth and where the person was last seen. It might also include information about whether the person has a health condition or physical or mental disability.