4 Children in Protective Custody, 2 Adults Arrested Near Riverton
Two adults were arrested and four children were taken into protective custody near Riverton on Friday afternoon.
Trooper Miller of the Wyoming Highway Patrol told K2 Radio News that because children were involved, he could not immediately release the names of the two people who were arrested.
He did, however, say that the man and woman are residents of West Virginia. The man faces recommended charges of driving without a license and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, while the woman was booked for possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of marijuana and driving with a revoked driver's license.
Additional charges could be brought later, Miller added.
On Thursday, the Wyoming Highway Patrol notified area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for a white Ford F-150 and a U-Haul truck traveling together after a group of children were reported panhandling at the Hat Six Travel Plaza in Evansville.
Store employees reported that at least one child made reference to their siblings being in the back of the U-Haul, causing concern. The children and the adults with whom they were traveling left the area shortly after that encounter.
At roughly 1 p.m. Friday, a state trooper on Wyoming Highway 789 in the area of Shoshoni and Boysen Reservoir saw the F-150 and U-Haul leaving a rest area southbound toward Riverton.
The trooper followed the vehicles for five miles before the U-Haul voluntarily pulled over and stopped on the shoulder of WY 134. The F-150 continued southbound on WY 789.
During the consensual contact with the male driver of the U-Haul, the trooper noticed that the vehicle and occupants matched the description provided in the 'be on the lookout' notice which had been aired Thursday.
The trooper discovered that no children were being transported in the rear of the U-Haul, Miller specified.
As the trooper questioned the driver, Miller told K2 Radio News, the white F-150 returned to the scene.
The trooper discovered that neither the male driver of the U-Haul nor the female driver of the Ford had a valid driver's license. Further, the U-Haul had not been returned to the rental company by the deadline, which Miller said constituted unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
The rental company, Miller added, had been preparing to report the U-Haul vehicle as having been stolen.
A check on the registration of the F-150 revealed that the pickup had been reported stolen out of Colorado. At that point, the female driver was taken into custody.
An inventory of the F-150 revealed a mason jar of marijuana, and the female driver allegedly admitted that the marijuana belonged to her.
The Wyoming Department of Family Services responded to the scene and took the children -- three girls and one boy -- into protective custody.
The Fremont County Sheriff's Office assisted with the incident, Miller said.