Three young children who authorities say were taken after their mother's brutal murder outside Los Angeles were found safe Wednesday as the search continues for the dead woman’s sister and a man wanted in connection with both crimes.
The Watkins children — Rylee, 5, Brayden, 3, and Joslynn, 2 — were found safe in a motel on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where their mother’s half-sister, Brittany Humphrey, and a man identified as Joshua Robertson, left them with a good Samaritan, police said.
The pair left the children about 700 miles away from the remote town of Lebec, where their mother’s bullet-riddled body was discovered 10 days earlier, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
It took authorities four days to identify Kimberly Harvill, who had been shot multiple times, because she had no identification on her, officials said.
Investigators said Humphrey, 22, and Robertson, 27 — who are considered persons of interest in Harvill’s death and are wanted for kidnapping the children — should be regarded as armed and dangerous.
Robertson is former inmate out on post-release community supervision. He had been convicted of illegal weapons charges, police said.
They are believed to be traveling eastbound from Albuquerque toward neighboring states, officials said, noting the couple has family in Nebraska and ties to Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The pair are believed to have taken Harvill's 1999 Ford Expedition, possibly with California license plate 7BEK024 after the woman’s murder.
Robertson has an infant with him who is unrelated to Harvill’s children, who were in authorities’ custody and will be returned to California, police said.
The children’s father is deceased, but they have a grandmother who lives in Fresno, officials said.
Harvill, Humphrey and Robertson were all involved with meth, according to the Associated Press.
The mother-of-three and her young children were transitory, moving from motel to motel and depended on panhandling to survive, cops said.
It was not clear if the victim and her children were staying with Humphrey and Robertson before the murder. There were no known ongoing conflicts between the sisters.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.