Police search for boy continues

By The Mercury

Riley County police are still searching for a mother who reportedly took her son from Manhattan Sunday in a car reportedly stolen from the boy’s father, but officials said Wednesday a license plate number released previously on the car is incorrect.

The correct tag on the car, a white 2008 Mazda 3, is 053EBR. Police said the car reportedly was stolen by Sonja Birdwell, 29, on Sunday when she took Benjamin Chavez-Birdwell, 3, from the boy’s father, Arano Chavez, 39, Manhattan, in violation of a custody order. 

Department officials said Tuesday that no significant updates have been made in the case but emphasized that police believe the boy’s welfare is in question should he remain in the custody of his mother. However, he is not believed to be in immediate danger of harm.

Lt. Josh Kyle said Birdwell has been spotted twice by a reliable source in the Topeka area since Sunday. 

The Mazda is reported to have damage to the front grill and driver-side front bumper. It also has a “Briggs Auto” front tag.

Police said Chavez-Birdwell is 3 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 50 pounds. Birdwell is white, 5 feet, 1 inch tall, 140 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information related to the subject is asked to contact the Riley County Police Department at (785) 537-2112 or Crime Stoppers at 539-7777 or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). You can also leave a web tip at manhattanrileycountycrimestoppers.com.

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