After 17 months missing, two Kalispell children allegedly abducted by their mother were returned to their father and hometown last week.
Valerie Dunkle, 45, was arrested Friday, Aug. 29 after the Kalispell Police Department received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that she and the children were staying at the Valencia Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence safe house.
Dunkle is being held at the Valencia County Adult Detention Center on a $50,000 cash-only bond on felony charges of parental interference. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance in front of Magistrate Tina Gallegos on Wednesday, Sept. 10.
Indigo and Donovan Revander, ages 12 and 6, were taken into Children, Youth and Family Department (CYFD) custody, before being returned to their father, Shawn Hargrove, of Kalispell, last Wednesday. Hargrove said when he received word the Friday before he could hardly believe it.
“I didn’t think it was true at first, because we’d had so many leads that had come up and then ultimately didn’t bear any fruit,” Hargrove said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I had to lean against the wall because I thought I was going to pass out, but before I got too excited I told myself I needed to make some phone calls.”
Hargrove and Dunkle were nearing the end of a lengthy divorce process in March 2007, when she allegedly took the children to avoid a court hearing to determine custody.
A missing-persons report wasn’t filed until two weeks later, when Hargrove was scheduled to have the children back.
There were several tips over the ensuing year, including a near miss in Arkansas where police reportedly discovered Dunkle was renting an apartment under an alias but arrived to find the residence empty.
Since returning to Kalispell, Hargrove said the children have been preparing for school and visiting with family and friends. “I can finally believe this nightmare is over,” he said.
Related: Kalispell Kids Still Missing
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