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Man who fled to L.A. with sons returned to Swanzey

SWANZEY - The father sought in the kidnapping of his two sons last Dec. was arraigned on two felony level charges of interference of the custody of a child in the 8th Circuit Court District Division in Keene Monday afternoon.

Joel Wallace, 41, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 19 with his two sons Jared and Ethan Wallace, ages 11 and 3.

The children had been reported missing that morning from a Forest Avenue home in Swanzey. Soon after authorities announced they believed they had been taken from the home by their biological father.

The boys had been taken into state custody three weeks prior, following the death of their mother in Hinsdale. Since then the boys had been living with a family in Swanzey. Then police chief Richard V.C. Busick said Wallace had also been staying in the same Swanzey home and was a known substance abuser. Busick said he believed the foster parent was Wallace&#';s sister.

In a press release that morning Busick said, &#';Wallace was also staying at the residence since his wife&#';s death. This morning Wallace and the two boys were discovered missing by a resident at the home. A window was found open and the blinds torn down. Also missing were numerous wrapped Christmas presents.&#';

Swanzey Police worked with numerous agencies in the search including, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Bedford and Los Angeles offices, state, Londonderry and Los Angeles police, the Division of Children, Youth and Families, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Cheshire County Attorney&#';s Office. Local airports were alerted since Wallace had talked about returning to California.

Together the agencies effectively identified Wallace and his sons had boarded a plane at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport headed to Los Angeles.

Working with the L.A.P.D. and the FBI in NH, law enforcement waited for the plane to arrive, when it did the children were safely taken into custody by L.A. DCYF and Wallace was arrested by police.

He was held in custody by Los Angeles police and eventually extradited back to New Hampshire.

Swanzey police chief Thomas De Angelis said Wallace arrived Friday and was arraigned on Monday at 1:30 p.m. at which he was held on $25,000 cash and returned to the Cheshire County House of Corrections.

He is scheduled to appear back in district court Feb. 15 for a probable cause hearing.


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