STURGIS — Updates on the Amber Alert story from this week: Fernando Cruz is being held on a $250,000 bond. The judge says he knows of 2 previous cases of domestic abuse against him.
Police arrested Cruz yesterday (Thursday) in Sturgis.
They say he had taken his 3 children without permission.
Cruz reportedly told the judge he's addicted to meth and did drugs as recently as 3 days ago in an effort to try to kill himself. He says he's tried to get help in the past.
He faces 7 charges, including kidnapping, domestic violence, weapons, and fleeing.
“There was State out here, there was FBI out here and they all had guns,” said Phyllis Borgert, who lives on Pioneer Street. “I was like what’s going on?!”
Police say Cruz and the children’s mother — who are in a relationship — were fighting. When mom went to a gas station to call 911, officers say Cruz drove off with the kids.
“As the night and into the morning progressed, we started realizing that he had made some threats,” said Geoff Smith, Director of Public Safety. “There could be a gun involved, obviously the pursuit puts the kids in danger, so we started meeting that threshold for the Amber Alert.”
There were about 4 hours between the first 911 call and the Amber Alert.
Smith says he has to meet a lot of requirements to call an Amber Alert and prevent a false alarm.
“It’s a hard judgment call, it really is,” said Janine Hahn, life-long Sturgis resident.
Smith says police followed Cruz for a long time, into LaGrange County and eventually right back to the house where everything started.
“I told him basically I wanted him safe, I wanted those kids safe and he was ready to give up at that point,” said Smith. “He came out and followed commands like he was supposed to and everything ended up happy and taken care of.”