South Routt school to resume normal activity | SteamboatToday.com

South Routt school to resume normal activity

Elementary students will be allowed outdoors again following kidnapping threat

Zach Fridell

— Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies believe 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 Wednesday, said Principal Michael Young. One third of the students stayed away from school today.

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 today.

Contacted by his ex-wife this afternoon, the man said he was still in California. Deputies said they do not believe 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 today.

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 today. 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 Wednesday.

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

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com