On Thursday, nine minutes after an Amber Alert was issued, the man accused of kidnapping three children was found and arrested.
The mini-saga started at 7 a.m. when Matthew Kline of Oroville allegedly kidnapped his two children, 3-year-old Ella Kline and 1-year-old Aiden, and a third child not his own. At 2:30 p.m., the Amber Alert was issued.
The hero of the story, Lally Ghutty, was checking his iPhone and saw the Amber Alert notification. Only seconds after that, he looked to his left and saw the Kline’s blue minivan in a Yuba City parking lot. Ghutty initially drove on, but then he changed his mind. He said later, “My gut told me, let’s go check it out, you know.”
When Lally pulled into the parking lot, he saw that the license plate on the minivan matched the Amber Alert. It was now 2:34 p.m. Ghutty dialed 911, but as he dialed, the van pulled away.
Ghutty, undeterred, followed the van. He recounted, “I was kind of worried about those kids, I guess. There was three little kids back there, you know?” He followed Kline to Highway 20 and 99 until police arrived and arrested Kline at 2:39 p.m. All of the children were safe.
Deputies reported that Kline’s wife told them her husband’s guns were missing and he seemed as if he was on drugs.
Shawna Pavey with the Yuba City Police Department concluded, “Nine minutes turnaround time from the time people were notified, to the time officers had those children, is fantastic.”