Grandmother talks about reunion with granddaughters after their brief abduction

Posted at 7:51 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 21:51:02-04

CLINTON, Utah -- A Clinton woman shared her emotional reunion with her two granddaughters after they had been abducted by their non-custodial parents last week.

“She was like ‘Grandma!’” said Lori Eatchel about her 3-year-old granddaughter Marae Montoya. “She came running. She had her arms up.”

Marae and her 11-month-old sister Cynthia were taken from their grandmother’s home in Clinton May 5 by their parents Christopher Montoya and Monica Martinez.

A widespread Amber Alert for the children hit at about 8 p.m. that evening. By 4 a.m. the next day, the girls were spotted in Gallup, N.M.

Eatchel said their reunion in New Mexico quickly turned into a flight home to Clinton, then a Mother’s Day celebration and Cynthia’s first birthday party.

“We celebrated yesterday (Sunday),” Eatchel said.  “She looked like a smurf -- she played in her blue cake. She had fun.”

Eatchel said she was overwhelmed by the power of social media and local and out-of-state law enforcement. She watched the Amber Alert for her granddaughters go coast-to-coast.

“Facebook and the media it was so fast -- viral. In like an hour there was so many people, so many people from different states, family, even the people at the bank. They said, ‘I told all my friends.’ It just went viral just everybody in just a couple hours the whole world knew it seemed like,” Eatchel said.

She shared her gratitude and now hopes her son, Montoya, the girls’ non-custodial father, gets the help he needs along with their mother, Martinez.

The Davis County Attorney’s Office is pressing child kidnapping charges in the first degree against both parents.