Mom and 1-year-old boy reunited after Montebello AMBER Alert staff KABC logo
Friday, January 8, 2016
Maria Castro and 1-year-old Caleb Castro are reunited after the boy was taken as his mother's van was stolen, sparking an AMBER Alert in Montebello on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016.

MONTEBELLO, Calif. (KABC) -- A 1-year-old boy who was taken when a suspect stole a van from a Montebello parking lot, triggering an AMBER Alert, was found safe on Thursday.

Caleb Castro's mother was overcome with joy as she was reunited with her son, who was in the back seat of the van when it was stolen.

"I grabbed him, when he saw me, he's like, oh my god, he was happy," Maria Castro described.

Authorities said the van was stolen from the SA Recycling Center parking lot at 1545 Gage Rd. just before 3 p.m.

Surveillance video captured the entire incident. In the video, Maria Castro can be seen working to recycle some items when the suspect enters the frame.

The suspect heads towards the van that has Castro's three children inside.

Police said the man ordered Maria Castro's two girls, ages 4 and 6, out of the car.

"I saw my daughters coming to me and then I saw the guy in my car and then I run and then he saw me, but then he just left," she explained.

In the video, two children can be seen walking towards Maria Castro as the van backs out quickly and takes off.

She is seen in the video running after the van as the suspect was apparently unaware Caleb was sleeping in the back seat.

The van was later found in the rear of a McDonald's parking lot on West Slauson Avenue in Pico Rivera, just two miles from where it was stolen.

Officials said surveillance video shows the suspect pulling into the McDonald's parking lot just after 3 p.m. and parking the van.

The suspect got out of the van alone and was picked up by a different vehicle, according to police.

A person who heard Caleb crying called police and the boy was found safe in the van at about 6:50 p.m.

"I cannot say, you know, I'm mad or something like that," Maria Castro said. "I don't really feel like that. Just say thanks to him that he left the baby OK and he didn't do anything to him."

Montebello police said the suspect, who remains at large, was described as a Hispanic male in his 30s with dark spiked hair.

If you have any information that can help detectives in their investigation, you're urged to call police at (323)887-1313.