SANTA ANA (CNS) – A 35-year-old man from Kentucky, who was arrested for allegedly abducting a 3-year-old boy and his 16-year-old cousin, has also been booked on suspicion of sexually assaulting an underage teen girl.
Jacob Clare was booked Thursday night of sexually assaulting a juvenile female and was being held on $150,000 bail, according to Orange County sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Anderson. Sheriff’s investigators did not provide any details about the victim.
Clare is also facing charges related to abducting his 3-year-old son, Noah, and his 16-year-old cousin, who were the subject of an Ambert Alert out of Tennessee, but were found safe Thursday in Dana Point.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Ambert Alert was issued Nov. 16.
The boy’s mother called Gallatin, Tennessee, police Nov. 7 to report that her ex-boyfriend Clare did not return their 3-year-old son following visitation, the TBI reported.
Clare bought a silver Subaru Legacy at the end of October and license plate readers in Arizona picked up the vehicle on Nov. 7, the TBI reported.
The vehicle was “abandoned” in a parking lot on private property in San Clemente and was towed Nov. 13, Anderson said. Tennessee authorities contacted Orange County sheriff’s deputies on Nov. 16 to help track down Clare and the children, Anderson said.
The children were reunited with their families Thursday night, Anderson said.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, deputies received a tip from a “concerned resident” around 8:50 a.m. Thursday about a boy matching the description of Noah. Responding deputies found the boy and his cousin.
Dana Point resident Julia Bonin told reporters at a news conference that she was taking her son to his sixth-grade classes Thursday morning when she saw three people matching the description of the suspect and the missing children.
Bonin said she follows the sheriff on social media and saw the alerts about the missing children.
“You just have to trust your instincts and gut,” she said. “I almost didn’t act on it.”
She said she spotted them about 8:40 a.m. and called 911 about 10 minutes later.
She had planned to volunteer at her son’s school but as she pulled up to the school to let her son out, she said, “I looked at my son and said, `I have to go back and make sure.”‘
She drove back to the location where she saw them walking, on Pacific Coast Highway near Doheny State Beach, got out of her car and took a photo of them, which she compared to the images from authorities on social media.
She said that when she dialed 911, she was “apologetic” because she thought she might be mistaken. But her suspicions were confirmed minutes later when authorities converged on the beach and took Clare into custody without incident. Sheriff Don Barnes described Clare as “cooperative.”
Bonin said the children appeared to be in “good spirits” and that she “sat on the beach, watched the waves; it was a beautiful moment.”
“They are both safe and healthy,” Barnes said, adding that the custodial parents were headed to California.
Barnes praised Bonin for acting on her hunch, and even more so for not confronting the suspect, but instead waiting for police to respond.
“It’s not every day we get on the news and say, `Guess what, we got them,”‘ he said.
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