South Routt school resumes normal activity | SteamboatToday.com

South Routt school resumes normal activity

Students allowed outdoors again after kidnapping threat

Zach Fridell

— Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies think the man who threatened to kidnap two children from South Routt Elementary School may never have left his home state of California.

School procedures will resume as normal today, Principal Michael Young said. One third of the students stayed away from school Tuesday.

Students were not allowed outside for recess today after a man reportedly told his ex-wife that he was coming from California to take the couple’s two children from the school in Yampa. The children and their grandfather, who works as a janitor for the school district, were sequestered Tuesday.

Contacted by his ex-wife Tuesday afternoon, the man said he was still in California. Deputies said they do not think he came near Routt County and they will use cell phone records to determine if he ever left California.

“Done deal, he’s in California,” investigator Ken Klinger, of the Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday.

Klinger said the man, identified as Mark Antonio Juanigi, also known as Mark Antonio Gonzalez, has outstanding warrants on non-violent crimes and will be arrested if he appears in the county.

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Deputies were on hand as students loaded and unloaded buses Tuesday. Deputies made additional patrols by the school throughout the day.

Juanigi is described as a 190 pound, 5-foot-11-inch Hispanic male from California. He is known to drive small Honda cars he buys and sells frequently.

South Routt School District Superintendent Scott Mader said the district consulted with local law enforcement before sending a letter home to parents Monday night.

“We went one step further than we were advised,” he said.

Mader said he is awaiting more information from law enforcement about the safety of the two children who were threatened, but he also said school will be back to normal today.

The school postponed its Literacy Carnival, originally scheduled for Tuesday night, until April 14, from 5 to 7 p.m.