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Man in custody after alleged abduction of daughters

The Washington County SWAT team mobilized at the command center, which was set up at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses at Hinton Avenue near 70th Street. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Jeffrey Lo. Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension 2 / 3
An armed law enforcement officer is posted at the entrance to the Hidden Valley neighborhood int he 7400 block of Hinton. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

A Cottage Grove man was taken into custody after allegedly abducting his two young daughters and assaulting their mother early this morning.

Jeffrey Lo was apprehended at 10:30 a.m. in the Hidden Valley neighborhood near Hinton Avenue. He was located in a wooded area by a police K-9.

He had the girls with him but surrendered without incident, Cottage Grove Director of Public Safety Peter Koerner said.

The mother has been reunited with her daughters, aged 1 and 3, at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury. Koerner said the girls appeared to be fine.

Lo is being held at the Cottage Grove Police Department pending his transport to the Washington County Jail. Charges are expected to filed in the next few days, Koerner said. He said the woman had filed an order for protection  against Lo.

Earlier reports said that Lo was armed but police found no weapon, Koerner said. 

He thanked members of the public for providing tips on social media in response to an Amber Alert. 

"I don't think we could have had a better outcome," he said.  

The abduction, which happened around 6:30 a.m. along the 5700 block of Hadley Avenue, sparked a four-hour manhunt that involved 14 law-enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service, FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. 

The attack occurred after the woman had strapped her daughters into her tan 2004 Toyota Sienna mini-van, Koerner said.  

Lo was hiding in the rear of the vehicle. Once the woman pulled out of her driveway, he allegedly lunged forward and began assaulting her. She managed to escape the van, which Lo then drove away. A female motorist stopped to help her and called 911. Cottage Grove police responded "within a minute or so,” Koerner said.

The female motorist and the girl's mother attempted to follow the minivan but never saw it again, Koerner said.

Public tips helped police to narrow the search to an area that encompassed Hinton to Hardwood avenues and 70th to 80th streets.

There was a heavy police presence at the intersection of 70th and Hardwood. A surveillance helicopter from the Minnesota State Patrol made repeated passes over the area. A command center was set up at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on Hinton Avenue, where members of the Washington County SWAT team donned bulletproof vests.

Also assisting in the search for Lo were three other area K-9 units, Woodbury Police Department, Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, Hastings Police Department, St. Paul Park Police Department, Oakdale Police Department, South St. Paul Police Departmentand Inver Grove Heights Police Department.

"Hats off to them," Koerner said. "We didn't even have to call them. They were here right away."

Jeffrey Lo

UPDATE 9:36 a.m. June 7, 2019: Authorities are no longer looking for the mini-van, but are continuing to search for the suspect and the children, according to a Facebook update by Cottage Grove Police Department. 

Original story below:

Authorities are looking for a father who reportedly left with his two young children in Cottage Grove Friday morning, June 7, 2019.

According to an Amber Alert:

The children are Asian females ages 1 and 3. The father, Jeffrey Lo, is described as an Asian male, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 180 pounds with brown eyes.

The mini-van is a tan 2004 Toyota Sienna with Minnesota license plates 708-XEM.

Lo allegedly assaulted the mother of his children around 6:34 a.m. in Cottage Grove and left with the two children.

He is believed to be armed. Call 911 and do not approach if you see him.

Mike Longaecker and Jake Pfeifer contributed to this report.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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