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Child thought to be missing found safe

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Haven BarkerHaven Barker

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — An 8-year-old child was found safe on Friday after an Amber Alert galvanized the community and brought numerous law enforcement together.

One person, Charles Estep, 50, was arrested on parole violation charges in connection with case and the child is unharmed at this time.

Sheriff Woody Wallace said that on March 6, the Sheriff’s Office received a request for a welfare check for the child, Haven Barker, 8, who had contacted relatives and Child Protective Services about possible illegal activity at the home.

He said the child was believed to be with her mother, Tamara Barker, and mother’s boyfriend, Charles Estep.

Investigators found the child had not been at school since she called CPS, and that the mother had tried to place the child with other family member, Wallace said. The adults tried several times to leave Haven with a relative in San Jacinto County, then just dropped some of the child’s belongings in the driveway and left.

Officers searched the home, and found that the adults’ belongings were gone, but most of the child’s belongings were left, which led investigators to request the Amber Alert, Wallace said.

Tips from the alert led law enforcement to Colorado, where the vehicle was seen, and another relative of the mother told police that the three were seen in the other state. The car was located at a motel at an unnamed city in Colorado.

Estep was arrested, Haven was located, and Colorado CPS officials determined that she was in no danger and was left with the mother.

Wallace said that officials will continue to investigate the incident, particularly what led to this happening, in order to keep Haven safe.

Wallace said that he was appreciative that things came together so quickly and the help that was provided was invaluable. He thanked all the people offering tips and the numerous Colorado and Texas law enforcement agencies.

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