Mission Viejo boy says he is safe after allegedly being taken by father in custodial dispute

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Authorities on Thursday, April 27, 2017, were searching for a missing Mission Viejo boy who was allegedly taken by his father amid a custodial dispute. (Orange County Sheriff's Department)

Authorities on Thursday contacted a missing Mission Viejo boy and his father after the man allegedly took the 10-year-old amid a custodial dispute.

Ten-year-old Jaime Huerta had been picked up by his father about 1 p.m. Wednesday at Linda Vista Elementary, at 25222 Pericia Drive in Mission Viejo, said Lt. Wayne Rehnelt of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Jaime Zepeda, 33, was supposed to drop off his son at the home of the boy's mother at 7 p.m. but did not show up, the lieutenant said. Zepeda's failure to do so violated a restraining order.

Jaime's mother told authorities that believed Zepeda was heading to Mexico with the boy. A sheriff's spokesperson said the father has never harmed the child in the past and no threats were reported.

Shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday, the sheriff's department announced the contact between investigators and both Jaime and Zepeda.

The son reported that he was safe, the department said on Twitter, adding that the agency "believes the pair to be in Mexico."

Jaime is described as Hispanic, 4 feet 1 inch tall, and weighing 130 pounds. He was last seen wearing black Adidas shorts, a gray sweater, and black tennis shoes while carrying a blue, gray and black backpack.

Zepeda is said to be Hispanic, 5 feet 3 inches tall, and weighing 160 pounds. He is believed to be driving a gold 2002 Ford F-150 pickup truck with California license plate No. 8U71467, or a 1997 Toyota Celica sedan with California plate No. 6FGN527, according to investigators.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the boy or the father is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at (714) 647-7000.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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custodymissing boyorange county sheriff's departmentsearchMission ViejoOrange County
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