Merced County prosecutors filed felony child abduction charges Wednesday against a Merced woman accused of violating a custody agreement and trying to take her two daughters across the Canadian border.
The District Attorney’s Office charged Rene Snider with two felonies in the case. If convicted, Snider faces a possible maximum sentence of five years in the Merced County Jail, according to Misty Compton, the deputy district attorney who filed the case.
The girls, Lyza Martinez, 11, and 12-year-old Drea Martinez, were reported missing Oct. 30 when their father, Jose Martinez, said Snider failed to return the girls after a visitation. Merced police filed missing persons reports and sought warrants for Snider in a frantic investigation that involved the California Highway Patrol, Pembina County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota, Watertown Police Department in South Dakota, the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI, authorities said.
Snider and the sisters were located Nov. 4 when Canadian border authorities stopped them trying to cross into the country from North Dakota.
“The two girls are currently in the process of being returned to the care and custody of their father,” Compton said Wednesday. “The District Attorney’s Office is happy the girls are safe and is very grateful for the efforts of the Merced Police Department.”
Compton specifically thanked Detective Joseph Henderson, the lead investigator in the case.
Compton said the girls have yet to return to Merced as authorities are working with officials in North Dakota and airlines to coordinate their return.
Snider remained in custody Wednesday in North Dakota and it wasn’t immediately clear when she could be extradited to Merced. Compton said prosecutors have issued a warrant as part of that process.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482