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Sheriff’s deputies locate missing child

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LPR staff report

Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested two individuals on Monday in connection with a missing child report.
The child has since been located in Austin, sheriff’s officials said. Dale residents Vanessa Soto, 32, Jesus Rochel, 27, were each charged in the incident. Soto was charged with making a false report to a police officer and Rochel was charged with assault of a public servant.
Soto’s bail has been set at $10,000, while Rochel’s is being set at $150,000. Neither had posted bail as of press time.
According to sheriff’s office public information officer Sgt. William Miller, deputies reported to a Poco Loco Convenience Store in Dale around 3:45 a.m. Monday to meet with Soto, who told deputies her 3-year-old child had gone missing after going to the store with Rochel, Soto’s boyfriend.
Upon further investigation, deputies were able to obtain the mother’s address and relocated to the residence to search for the missing child.
Officials said deputies met with residents at the location and observed a five-year-old and a one-year-old at the house. Deputies gained consent to search the home and encountered Rochel hiding within the residence.
After a brief altercation in which pepper spray was used to gain compliance, Rochel was placed in handcuffs. Officers then discovered Rochel had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Travis County for family violence.
Deputies were unable to locate the three-year-old boy at the residence and learned that the boy went missing with Rochel when they were involved in earlier car accident that was possibly connected to an earlier police pursuit along FM 812.
According to Miller, sheriff’s office officials made contact with multiple surrounding agencies to check into possible pursuits and were advised that there were not any within the timeframe. The three-year-old was then entered as a missing endangered child within the Texas Crime Information Center.
Sheriff’s office officials then contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers for assistance with the investigation. Deputies were able to obtain a license plate number for the vehicle that Rochel had been driving and learned that it had been towed from Tracor Lane in Austin.
Contact was made with the Austin Police Department to check the area for the missing child. At approximately 3 p.m. Monday, APD officials contacted the sheriff’s office and advised that they had located the missing boy in a wooded area near where the car was towed.
Austin Police Department officials said the boy was alive and being taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center for evaluation. Officials noted the investigation is still active and ongoing among multiple agencies.

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