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Three children found in abandoned minivan now in foster care

Anthony Alfredo Chavez (Jail photo)
Anthony Alfredo Chavez (Jail photo)(KWTX)
Published: Feb. 23, 2016 at 11:28 AM CST
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Three young children whom a passerby found inside a minivan abandoned along a Central Texas roadside are now in foster care, a Child Protective Services official said Wednesday.

The children, ages 3, 4, and 7, were discovered early Tuesday alone inside the minivan, which was parked along a rural roadside between Salado and Holland in Bell County.

Anthony Alfredo Chavez, 32, whom authorities identified as the children’s father remained in the Bell County Jail Wednesday.

Online jail records did not list charges or bond information.

He was arrested Tuesday after a bizarre series of events that started when a passerby spotted the minivan with the driver’s door open on the side of FM 2268.

He stopped to check, and found the three children inside the vehicle, which had a flat tire, Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

He called 911 to report the discovery.

A Bell County sheriff’s deputy responded to the call and as he and the passerby moved the children out of the minivan and into the deputy’s patrol unit, Chavez suddenly appeared, jumped into the passerby’s truck and drove off, Lange said.

Because the children were in the patrol unit, the deputy was unable to give chase, Lange said.

Other deputies were sent to the area and they found the stolen truck a little after dawn wedged between two trees.

Chavez was later spotted walking along FM 2268 and was arrested without incident, Lange said.

The passerby said his wallet and a gun were in the truck when it was stolen, but the gun has not been recovered.

Deputies talked to the children’s grandfather who told them that Chavez and the youngsters were supposed to be driving to Dallas to find the children’s mother, Lange said.