Four kids found safe in AMBER Alert: here’s what happened

Apr 26, 2022, 3:44 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:58 pm
Emergency lights...
(FILE PHOTO, Deseret News)
(FILE PHOTO, Deseret News)

Two women are in custody after their involvement in two missing children from a recent AMBER alert. South Salt Lake Police cancelled an AMBER Alert after two kidnapped children under the age of 3 and two older children were all found safely on April 20.

According to court documents, police were sent to an address at 60 E Sunset Avenue in South Salt Lake after being told by a caseworker with Division of Child and Family Services that the State had obtained a “warrant for the removal of two children,” a two-month-old boy and a two-year-old girl.

The mother was identified as Yaneli Murillo, a 22-year-old with multiple DCFS cases.

Caseworkers told police that the two-month-old was born drug dependent and that Yaneli had recently tested positive for drugs.

There was a court hearing on April 20, where the judge awarded custody of both children to DCFS. Following the hearing a “warrant of removal was issued.”

However, when DCFS arrived to take the children at 600 E. Sunset Ave., Yaneli had fled with both children.

DCFS contacted Yaneli by phone who was with her mother, Maria Murillo. Both Maria and Yaneli “refused return the children” court documents state.

Shortly after this phone call, a text message was received by the DCFS case worker from Maria’s phone. It is believed that Yaneli wrote the message since it was in English and “Maria only speaks Spanish.”

The text message read, “Because of what they did to me, I’m here, that was the help they gave
me, Because the children didn’t let me, and I did it wrong so that you made me kill the children, and I failed them.”

DCFS workers were in contact with Maria by phone but she refused to tell them where the children were.

South Salt Lake Detectives searched the apartment but could not find the children. However, the court documents state, “The apartment was found in disarray with deplorable living conditions. The Salt Lake
County Health Department was contacted and the apartment was closed to occupancy.”

Detectives learned that Maria had two children as well, a ten-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl in elementary school. As they investigated, they found that the two children had been “checked out” at 10 a.m. by Yaneli Murillo, who is their sister.

At that point, an AMBER Alert was issued for the four children who were considered endangered.

Soon after, Yaneli left a voicemail for a DCFS caseworker and said she “was upset the children had [been] put on the news.” Yaneli sent a DCFS worker her location and was found with her children and Maria in West Valley.

Yaneli spoke to police and admitted that she had attended a hearing that morning and was told the children were going to be placed into DCFS custody. Court documents state, “After the hearing Yaneli smoked methamphetamine. She said she then left with her two children.”

Maria may face charges of two counts of kidnapping and two counts of obstruction of justice.

It is unclear what charges Yaneli may face as this time.


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Four kids found safe in AMBER Alert: here’s what happened