Arapahoe man arrested after failing to return daughters to foster care

Friday, July 24, 2009

LINCOLN -- Yuma County, Colo., sheriff's officers arrested an Arapahoe, Neb., man Wednesday after he failed to return his daughters to foster care Monday.

The investigation of the two missing girls and the arrest of 54-year-old William Eschen of Arapahoe involved six law enforcement agencies in two states and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Eschen faces two charges of violation of a custody order and remains in the Yuma County Jail.

Eschen's daughters, ages 16 and 13, will be returned to foster care.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m., on Monday, July 20, employees of the DHHS Lexington office called the Nebraska State Patrol Troop D Headquarters in North Platte to report that Eschen had failed to return his daughters to foster care. Earlier in the day on Monday, July 20, Eschen picked up his two girls for an unsupervised visit and a 3 p.m. appointment in Lexington. The father and daughters never showed up for the appointment, the State Patrol reports, and he failed to return the girls to their foster home by the agreed-upon time of 5 p.m.

The Patrol, working in conjunction with Furnas, Kearny and Hitchcock county sheriff's officers and DHHS employees uncovered information indicating that Eschen may have taken the girls across state lines into Colorado to visit his son, who lives in rural Yuma County.

NSP investigators were in touch with law enforcement officials in Washington and Yuma counties in Colorado. On Wednesday, July 22, the Yuma County Sheriff's Office conducted a check of the residence of Michael Eschen, 27, in Haxtun, Colo., where they located Eschen and his daughters.

William Eschen was taken into custody and lodged in the Yuma County Jail on two counts of violation of a custody order. The two girls were placed in protective custody and will be returned to their foster home in Nebraska.

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