The Montezuma County Sheriffs Office located 28-year-old Carina Bieber and her four children early Thursday, ending a local child abduction case that received national attention.
New information led to a search warrant at a Montezuma County residence where Bieber and her children were found in a hidden room in the basement, according to information from the sheriffs office.
The children appeared to be in good health, and an initial investigation indicates they have received home schooling, said Lt. Ted Meador of the sheriffs office.
The children were extremely excited to go outside, he said. Were glad that it had a positive outcome.
The room they were found in was described as a space under stairs concealed by a panel and insulation. It appears Bieber and the children were living in the house for several months and using the room to hide when law enforcement visited, Meador said.
The children are now in the custody of child protective services. They were found in one of two county residences searched.
Bieber allegedly did not have legal custody of her children when the five went missing last year. The case was reported to the sheriffs office Dec. 29.
The father, Justin Bieber, told police he had not seen three of his children since October and his youngest child, then 2 years old, since January 2010. The children are all less than 11 years old.
Since then, the case has aired on the national Find Our Children series on Tru-TV and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website.
The U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the search.
Carina Bieber appeared before Montezuma County Judge JenniLynn Lawrence on Thursday and was read her rights. District Attorney Russell Wasley argued to raise the bond on Bieber, saying he was concerned about flight risk, the welfare of the children and public safety. He alleged Carina Bieber has been aware for months of a warrant out for her arrest for failure to appear in court and has deliberately eluded law enforcement. He acknowledged that the suspect appeared to have no prior criminal history.
Lawrence increased the suspects bond to $100,000 cash, saying a violation of a court order is a serious matter.
In custody cases, most people have a reason for doing what they do, Lawrence told Carina Bieber in court. And I sympathize with you.
Carina Bieber is being held in the Montezuma County Detention Center under suspicion of child custody violation and failure to appear in court last year. If charged and convicted, she could face time in prison.
Lawrence placed a protection order on Bieber, prohibiting her from contacting her children.
Her next hearing is scheduled for Thursday, at which point formal charges must be filed by the District Attorneys Office.
Reach Reid Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.