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The three missing children of a woman, identified as Kimberly Harvill, found dead along a road in rural Los Angeles County two weeks ago, were safely located Wednesday by authorities at a motel in New Mexico.
The children were allegedly kidnapped by the dead woman’s sister, Brittany Humphrey, 22, and Humphrey’s boyfriend, Joshua Robertson, 27, who remain at large and are considered “persons of interest” in the woman’s death, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities believe that Humphrey and Robertson took the children sometime either before or after the slaying of their mother: “Immediately after the murder or sometime shortly after, it is suspicious that they did not come forward to law enforcement and instead fled,” said L.A. County sheriff’s homicide Lt. Joe Mendoza.
Composite of Kimberly Harville released by LA Sherrif’s office was crucial in identifying victim
The couple are believed to be headed east from Albuquerque, N.M. The children were left “in the care of a Good Samaritan” at a hotel near the outskirts of Albuquerque.
The father of the children Joslynn Watkins, 2; Brayden Watkins, 3; and Rylee Watkins, 5 is believed deceased. Authorities were arranging their return to California, sheriff’s officials said, they will be placed in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services.
The Sheriff’s Department said the couple were probably driving a silver or forest green 1999 Ford Expedition, which could have either paper plates or the California license plates.
Authorities said that Robertson and Humphrey were traveling with an infant, who is not related to Harvill’s children. Identifying details about the infant were not released.
The missing children’s mother, Harvill, was found dead Aug. 14 along Gorman Post Road in Lebec, close to L.A. County’s border with Kern County.
A motorist who was taking a rest during a long drive spotted the slain woman lying in roadside brush. She had multiple upper-body gunshot wounds and head trauma, which led authorities to conclude she had been killed.
Investigators initially had difficulty identifying the body. Detectives released a composite sketch of the woman and sought the public’s help to identify her.
“Thankfully, due to the press coming out and putting that out, we were able to identify the victim,” Lt. Joe Mendoza of L.A. County Sheriff’s Homicide said in a Wednesday news conference.
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Cops say the dead woman and the kidnapping suspects formerly lived in Fresno but were staying in Lebec, California in the days before the murder.
“They were known to go from motel to motel,” Mendoza said. The couple have family in Nebraska as well as ties in Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Robertson, who has a criminal history and a previous arrest for possession of a firearm, and Humphrey are considered to be armed and dangerous. If seen, police have advised that “People should not approach them.”