Riverside County Amber Alert: Child found, suspect in custody

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- A man suspected of abducting his 2-year-old son in Riverside County and killing the boy's mother has been taken into custody and the child has been recovered safely, authorities said Tuesday evening.

An Amber Alert was issued Monday afternoon after the child, Celestine Stoot III, was taken, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Celestine was last seen sometime Sunday in Lake Elsinore.


The Amber Alert was deactivated by early Tuesday evening.

"This AMBER Alert has been deactivated," the CHP tweeted. "The child was safely located and the suspect was taken into custody."

The suspect was found with his son in Las Vegas around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and was taken into custody without incident, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The boy was unharmed and will be reunited with other family members. The suspect is expected to be extradited to Riverside County.
Stoot Jr. is now facing murder charges.

A spokesperson for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said the suspect, 42-year-old Celestine Stoot Jr., has been identified as the suspect in the homicide of 43-year-old Natasha Denise Barlow, the mother of the missing boy.


Family members had called authorities to do a welfare check on Barlow, a mother of eight children, after she failed to show up at a Fourth of July celebration.

Authorities discovered Barlow's body inside a home in Lake Elsinore around 4 p.m. Monday. Stoot Jr. is believed to be Barlow's boyfriend.

Details were not released on the cause of Barlow's death, and authorities did not mention a possible motive.

"There was some sort of altercation between Celestine and my sister and he shot her because she wouldn't shut up," said Genique Stanford, the victim's sister. "He's threatened to kill her I don't know how many times."

However, police have not confirmed those details.


"We just want justice for my sister. We have the baby back and now we want our justice for his mother," said Lakeisha Barlow, Natasha's sister.

A vigil is being held for Barlow in San Jacinto Wednesday night.

The Amber Alert was issued in Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties.
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