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BREAKING NEWS: Patrick child found safe
Father in custody in Pikeville, Ky.
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An Amber Alert has been issued for Tommy Lee Able Engle (left), 3, who is suspected of being with his father, Tommy Lee Travis Engle (right), 34, according to the Patrick County Sheriff's Office. The elder Engle is considered armed and dangerous, the sheriff's office stated. (Contributed photos)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Tommy Lee Able Engle, a 3-year-old boy who last was seen in Critz in Patrick County, has been found safe in Pikeville, Kentucky, according to a news release from the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office.

An AMBER alert was issued at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday for Engle, who was believed to be with his father, Tommy Lee Travis Engle, 34, who was considered armed and dangerous, according to Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith.

Tommy Lee Travis Engle was taken into custody without incident at 12:40 p.m. Wednesday in Pikeville, according to the release. He is being held in Pike County Jail awaiting extradition to Patrick County.

Warrants had been issued in Patrick County for Engle’s arrest on malicious wounding and strangulation charges.

Below is the earlier story from Wednesday's Bulletin:

An Amber Alert was issued Tuesday for a 3-year-old boy who last was seen in Critz in Patrick County allegedly with his father, who is considered armed and dangerous, according to Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith.

Tommy Lee Able Engle is 3 feet tall, weighs 35 pounds, has short blond hair and blue eyes, according to Virginia’s A.M.B.E.R. Alert System website.

According to the alert system, the boy allegedly may be with his father, identified on the website as Tommy Lee Travis Engle, traveling in a 2000 or 2001 navy blue Dodge Neon with Virginia tag WNZ9169.

The father allegedly may be armed with an AK-47 and possess a ballistics vest, the A.M.B.E.R. Alert System states. It also alleges that the father has made suicidal threats and homicidal threats toward law enforcement.

Tommy Lee Travis Engle, 34, is a white man, 6 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, the website states.

Smith said Tuesday night that his office and several other law enforcement agencies are actively searching for the child. The father has ties to North Carolina and family members in Kentucky, Smith said, and the sheriff’s office worked in coordination with authorities in both states throughout the weekend, a sheriff’s office news release stated.

The case began Friday night when Patrick deputies were called to the Engle home in the 300 block of Oak Hill Lane, Critz, regarding a domestic disturbance, according to the news release.

When deputies arrived, Engle already had left the home, allegedly with his son, the release stated.

Smith said his office obtained felony warrants for Engle’s arrest that night on charges of malicious wounding and strangulation. The child’s mother was the alleged victim, the release stated.

Smith said an Amber Alert was not issued Friday because the incident did not meet certain criteria. The sheriff’s office had independent sources familiar with the situation at the home who assured the police that Engle would not hurt his son, Smith said.

“The investigation revealed at that time that the aggression (allegedly) was directed solely toward the mother of the child and not toward the child himself. This was supported by witnesses and statements of those familiar with the situation inside the Engle home,” the sheriff stated in a release.

However, the sheriff’s office received information in the last 24 hours that “heightened the situation,” he said. “In the beginning we didn’t know a lot of what we now know.”

That information includes that Engle might be armed and was suicidal, and his past contact with law enforcement agencies in other regions, Smith said, declining to elaborate.

Smith said Federal Amber Alert criteria then were met, and the alert was issued Tuesday evening.

Engle formerly served in the military, has lived in Patrick County less than two years and is not working, Smith said. He added that in the sheriff’s office’s past dealing with him allegedly involving disturbances, Engle cooperated with law enforcement.

Anyone who sees the vehicle is warned against approaching it. Instead, call local law enforcement; the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office at 694-3161; or the Virginia State Police at 1-800-822-4453.


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