Police still searching for missing boy

By The Mercury

Riley County police are still searching for a mother who allegedly took her son from Manhattan Sunday and is reportedly in the Topeka area.

Department officials said Tuesday that no significant updates have been made in the case of Benjamin Antonio Chavez-Birdwell, 3, but emphasized that police believe his welfare is in question should he remain in the custody of his mother, Sonja Karin Birdwell, 29.

However, Lt. Josh Kyle said they do not believe the child is in immediate danger of harm. 

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

The boy’s father, Arano Chavez, 39, Manhattan, reported at approximately 3 p.m. Sunday that Birdwell had taken their son in violation of a court order regarding custody.

Kyle said Birdwell took their son to Topeka in a car, a 2008 white Mazda 3 bearing the Kansas plate number XIR464, which Kyle said was stolen from Chavez. The Mazda has damage to the front grill and driver side front bumper. It also has a “Briggs Auto” front tag.

Police said the boy 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).

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