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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 2:32 am | Fair 45º


Orcutt Mother Who Fled With Children Surrenders to Authorities in Mexico

An Orcutt woman who fled the country with her two children surrendered to U.S. authorities in Mexico and the two girls have been reunited with their father six months after they disappeared following a custody hearing, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

Michelle Christine Gibbs, 44, and her daughters, Cassidy, 4, and Gabriella, 6, went missing Feb. 26 after a child custody hearing in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.

Their whereabouts remained a mystery until Gibbs surrendered at the U.S. Consular Agency in San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos), Baja California Sur, Mexico on Aug. 18, according to a news release from Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

All three appeared to be in good health, and returned to the United States while accompanied by Mexican immigration officials Aug. 21, the news release said.

They were met at the Los Angeles International Airport by a Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office investigator and victim’s advocate.

The girls were reunited with their father Aug. 24.

Michelle Gibbs DMV photo

Gibbs was arrested by federal marshals for suspicion of felony child abduction. She posted $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 15 in a Santa Maria courtroom.

The District Attorney’s Office and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department were helped by a number of state, national and international organizations and agencies including the FBI, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

“Child abduction, even when it is carried out a by a known party, is many parent’s worst nightmare,” Dudley said.

“The safe return of our children is consistently the greatest concern of the District Attorney’s Office. Throughout the process of working these cases, which often are fraught with frustrating delays and legal complications, the well-being of the children remains our highest priority.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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