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Amber Alert Update: 12-Year-Old Boy Found Safe in Oceanside

The woman suspected of abducting the boy was charged with kidnapping.

Originally posted at 3:14 p.m. March 10, 2014. Edited with new details.

A woman who allegedly abducted her 12-year-old son in Long Beach was arrested in Oceanside today about 90 minutes after a statewide Amber Alert was issued.

Sri Ann Johnston, 48, was arrested at about 2:40 p.m. by members of the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force, according to Nancy Pratt of the Long Beach Police Department. She allegedly abducted her son, Nicholas, on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Shortly after her arrest, the District Attorney's Office announced that it had charged Johnston with one count each of kidnapping and child custody deprivation. She is expected to be arraigned later this week, and faces up to 13 years and eight months in prison, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Johnston picked Nicholas up last Wednesday for visitation, but failed to take him to school the next day.

The boy was recovered safe when Johnston was arrested today, Pratt said, adding that the boy's father has primary custody of the child.

Pratt said an Amber Alert was not issued until today because the case did not initially "meet the criteria" for the alert. She said an alert was declared once "new information" was gathered.

She said Sri Johnston was only allowed to have the child "in a very specific time frame. She was in violation of that."

The Amber Alert likely got the attention of many cell phone owners, thanks to a notification system that prompts a loud alert sound to emanate from mobile devices.

—City News Service
Art March 11, 2014 at 03:55 AM
Why do they wait so long to issue a Amber alert? That kid could've been chopped into pieces and thrown into the ocean or where ever since Thursday. They need to shorten the time frame on these Amber alerts. They probably could've found this kid even sooner.
Tom Wheeler March 11, 2014 at 09:57 AM
In answer to the comment above, maybe they were thinking what I am thinking, that the Amber Alert has primarily become a service utilizing our most important law enforcement resources, including the immediate attention of our entire citizenry, to catch quarreling mommies and daddies. I was in a restaurant and I thought we were about to get attacked by nuclear missiles or something....all the cell phones were going crazy. No thanks. I just opted out of Amber Alert...not worth the interruption for domestic squabbles....glad I wasn't in a meeting. Just say no to being the Borg.
John Starks March 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM
I'm so happy to read that the boy was safely found, but who would name their son 'amber'?
Eileen Burke March 11, 2014 at 03:25 PM
People whose domestic arrangements become a public problem should get the attention of social workers, not law enforcement. Maybe foster care for the child until the parents can show the court that this won't happen again. And forced legal separation for people who need the police for their domestic disputes. We may have no choice but to pay for our fellow citizens who are too immature or too lazy to work on their personal relationships, especially when there are children involved, but we have the right to keep the cost to a minimum, so that our limited resources can be spent where they are needed most. By the way, Patch, I read this assuming that a stranger had kidnapped a child, and that the community should be looking for them. Sensationalistic and irresponsible. If this woman is a "kidnapper", what charge will the courts bring against a stranger who abducts a child? What's left? Kidnapping--a horrible crime--has been discounted to a very tacky domestic problem, mostly affecting trashy people who can't get their lives in order. Why are you using your publication to propound a message like this? What happens the next time a stranger grabs a child? Do we all ( including the police ) ignore the message, assuming it's just another bad divorce? And the newspapers will be the boy who cried wolf?
Willie March 17, 2014 at 09:58 AM
I would rather be "inconvenienced" with extra messages on my phone than to not have had the chance to help a child.

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