LAKE MARY, Fla. - The Ocala woman believed to have taken her children illegally on Friday after failing to return them to their guardians after a visit in DeLand was located Sunday night in Columbia County in North Florida, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators say Margarita Gutierrez, 29, faces a charge of interfering with custody in Volusia County, along with several charges in Lake City, including burglary of a residence, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest without violence and child abuse.
A news released from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office says the children, Izabelle Jones, 11, and Xzavier Espinosa, 5, were found safe. Their grandparents, who are their legal guardians, traveled to Lake City to pick them up.
Volusia County detectives were notified Sunday night regarding a burglary that had occurred at a vacant property, and the suspect was identified as Gutierrez. They say that the property owners showed up at the home and saw Gutierrez walking from the home. The home was burglarized. The owners contacted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives there say Gutierrez failed to provide her ID and then fled the scene with the kids in the car.
A chase ensued, with deputies estimating her top speed to be 100 mph, but quickly ended when investigators discovered that children were inside the car.
Officials say the car was later reported as a suspicious vehicle that was parked in rural dead-end street in Lake City.
Detectives say Gutierrez tried to drive away, but was arrested. They say the children were not harmed.
This story was written in Lake Mary, Florida.