The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday, Sept. 23 that deputies found the car in the county near San Flat Campground, California late Sunday.
Deputies couldn’t immediately confirm the identities of the deceased and their suspected cause of death was not released.
The Amber Alert issued for John Weir, the boy, and his dad Steven Weir was deactivated in light of the discovery.
A car listed in the Amber Alert was described as a red 2005 Hyundai Elantra with a California license plate. Authorities said Weir took his son on Friday from Merced but didn’t know where he was headed.
— CHP – Alerts (@CHPAlerts) September 21, 2019
Authorities described Weir as “armed and dangerous.”
The mother of John, identified as Sarah, told KFSN that Weir was supposed to meet her on Saturday evening for a custody exchange but that he never showed up.
“I personally believe he is no longer in California, I think he’s left the area,” she said. She said their son suffers from a neurological muscle disorder and has a weak immune system, meaning he needs more attention than other boys his age.
“There is that small part in the back of your mind that you always think of the different possibilities and this is a parent’s worst fear,” Sarah said. In a message to Weir, she said, “Bring John home. Hand him over to the police or if he wants to talk to me, my phone is on.”
According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, approximately 200,000 children are kidnapped each year by a family member.
Child custody experts say that people kidnap their own children to force a reconciliation or continued interaction with the other, left-behind parent; to spite or punish the other parent; from fear of losing custody or visitation rights.
In rare cases, the kidnapping may occur to protect a child from a parent who is believed to be abusing the child.
Common warnings signs include the other parent threatening abduction, suspected abuse, or paranoid delusion.
The foundation says a number of steps can be taken to help prevent such situations, including respecting the other parent’s custody and visitation rights, maintaining a friendly relationship with the ex-spouse and his or her family, and keeping records of custody arrangements and rulings.