After a year, BCSO finds 3 missing children

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. โ€” In an update Thursday, BCSO announced that three missing children have been found safe after a yearlong investigation.

The investigation began in June 2022 when the sheriff’s office was contacted by CYFD to help find two children. According to BCSO, CYFD had previously received a referral regarding concerns about drug use by 31-year-old Vanessa Atwood. Her 3-year-old toddler was hospitalized for an asthma attack and medical staff observed suspicious behavior, leading to CYFD placing the toddler on a safety plan with a family member.

During the investigation, authorities found that Atwood had been evading law enforcement and the other two children, ages 13 and 9, were also missing. Authorities were not able to contact Atwood or find any of the children. The children were then considered endangered.

The breakthrough in the case was earlier this week, on July 27. Detectives found the family in northeast Albuquerque. BCSO said Atwood and two of the children came out of the residence, after initial resistance. Then, the father of the children also arrived at the scene with the third child.

During the welfare check, detectives found drug paraphernalia within reach of the children, prompting a search warrant.

All three children have been placed under protective custody because the conditions inside the residence with concerning, with minimal food. CYFD was called to the scene to ensure the children’s safety and well-being.

Charges are pending at this time.

This is a developing story. Stay with KOB 4 Eyewitness News and for updates.