ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The two girls at the center of an Amber Alert are safe and back in Albuquerque.
They were found with their father early Sunday morning at the U.S./Mexico border after going missing Friday morning. Family members say more could’ve been done to help them sooner, but that didn’t happen.
“They’re gone! They’re gone!” Martha Dominguez remembers yelling Friday morning at around 6 a.m. “I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do.”
It was panic for Dominguez when she woke up to find her two granddaughters, 9-year-old Genesis Marquez and 11-year-old Trinity Marquez, missing.
And Oscar Marquez, the girls’ father, was missing, too.
“You know, you feel bad to call the police against your son,” Dominguez said.
But the girls’ grandmother knew she had to.
“I said ‘Oh, my God! Oh, my God! He’s going to leave!’ ” Dominguez said. “I was afraid he was going to, first thing in my mind, Mexico.”
So she called Albuquerque police and the girls’ mother.
“He took all the girls’ stuff and most of his stuff from his mom’s house,” Jennifer Marquez said in a phone interview.
Also missing was his work equipment from a university-area tattoo shop.
Jennifer Marquez wanted APD to put out an Amber Alert right away, but that never happened.
“I was given reason after reason after reason and none of them made any sense because my kids were missing,” Marquez said.
Jennifer Marquez says she has a court order that says Oscar Marquez is only granted supervised visits because of a domestic violence situation and the courts thought he was a flight risk.
That’s the reason he was seeing his daughters at his mother’s home the morning he took off. Jennifer Marquez says she had that paperwork, but still APD would not issue the alert.
Police tell KRQE News 13 the case “did not meet criteria for an Amber Alert.”
“When I call 911, it’s because I really need help,” Dominguez said.
Oscar Marquez was found crossing back into the states early Sunday morning with the girls in tow. A border agent spotted him in El Paso.
“I was just ecstatic,” Jennifer Marquez said. “I was shaking, I was crying, my heart was racing.”
All of this after Jennifer Marquez went to another agency – the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.
They finally issued that Amber Alert on Saturday night at 8 p.m.
“The main thing is the endangerment of the children,” Sgt. Aaron Williamson with BCSD said. “And that was the big thing yesterday and it was by going through interviews and talking to additional family members that we were able to obtain that information.”
Jennifer Marquez is convinced that had APD put out an Amber Alert right away, the girls would’ve been found before they ever made it into Mexico.
Oscar Marquez is locked up in El Paso for now and will be extradited. He faces felony charges of custodial interference. More charges could follow.