After an Amber Alert was issued for two missing Kansas children Saturday evening, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers were able to track down the children safely and arrest the man accused of abducting them.
Troopers arrested 40-year-old Donny Jackson as he crossed state lines into Oklahoma. While a motive remains under investigation, News 9 learned Jackson and the children's mother were separated.
According to court records, Jackson filed for divorce in Aug. 2019. Neighbors said his sons lived with him and the girls lived with their mother.
Officials in Kansas discovered the bodies of 14-year-old Logan Jackson and 11-year-old Austin Jackson on Saturday afternoon.
“When something like this transpires, it's difficult on the first responders, the family and the community at-large,” Leavenworth County (Kansas) Sheriff’s Office Major Jim Sherley said.
Leavenworth County officials said relatives were concerned about the children.
“I believe there was a family event,” Sherley said. “A soccer game that one of the children was supposed to be at didn't show up.”
A relative told investigators the boys’ sisters, 3-year-old Aven Jackson and 7-year-old Nora Jackson, were missing. An Amber Alert was then issued.
“I've learned over the years there's nothing that the public takes more seriously than an Amber Alert and we're very grateful for that,” Beckham County Sheriff Derek Manning said. “That's why we’re very careful about how and when we use them and put them out.”
Law enforcement and dispatchers worked together to ensure the girls’ safety.
“She was determined that we weren’t going to let the vehicle slip away, so she was calling everyone she could think of to intercept in case our guys weren’t able to be in position,” Manning said.
Reported sightings of Jackson's vehicle led to his arrest along Interstate 40 in west Beckham County. With the girls found safe, an Oklahoma dispatcher attributed the best possible outcome to a higher power.
“She told me in her mind this was a ‘God’ thing,” Manning said. “She said things just lined up.”
The girls were placed in DHS custody and are expected to be reunited with their family in Kansas.