May 16, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Toddler found safe, healthy inside stolen SUV; Amber Alert deactivated

4 min read

A 2-year-old taken Sunday morning after the SUV he was sleeping in was stolen while his mother unloaded groceries at a Sunnyvale motel has been reunited with family, authorities said.

According to a social-media post Sunday evening, the California Highway Patrol said the Amber Alert about the child’s disappearance has been deactivated, but provided no additional information. In a separate post, Sunnyvale police said the child was found apparently unharmed and healthy inside the SUV parked in a parking lot about four miles away from the motel, but has been taken to a hospital out of a sense of caution.


An Amber Alert was issued before dawn Sunday after a brown 2008 Buick Enclave was stolen about 3:51 a.m. from the parking lot of Travel Inn, 590 N. Mathilda Ave., in Sunnyvale.

Jardine’s toddler, Jacob, was in the vehicle when it was taken, according to the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

“If this was your child, you’d hope to God everyone would stop what they are doing and help,” Melissa Jardine, 29, said. “Just act like it’s your child.”

By early Sunday afternoon, neither the boy nor the vehicle – emblazoned with a sticker reading “Baby On Board – had been found, with Jardine saying then that she felt helpless imagining him hungry and with a dirty diaper.

“It’s killing me that it’s been so many hours,” she said.

Police announced late Sunday afternoon that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Jacob’s safe return.

Jardine’s SUV was last seen speeding south in the northbound lanes of Mathilda Avenue, said Capt. Craig Anderson of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

The vehicle had unknown Georgia paper plates and a spare tire on its front passenger wheel. Its left headlight and taillight were out, and it had a large travel bag on its roof rack.

Jacob is 3 feet tall and 25 pounds, and has red curly hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt with orange, blue and teal lettering on it.

Jardine said her son was sleeping in her Buick and she had just taken her second load of groceries inside the motel when the SUV was taken.

“Before I even got out of my room, I heard a car squeal, and as I came out here, he was gone, the car was gone, everybody was gone,” Jardine said.

After calling 911, Jardine said she drove to the top of parking garages to peer out over the city, hoping to spot her car and the distinctive travel bag on top of it. Along the way, she obsessively clicked her car alarm button, hoping she’d hear a sound somewhere nearby.

She said she couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t return her son.

“Why don’t you just pull over?” Jardine asked. “Why wouldn’t you stop? Why would you want any part in child abduction?”

On Sunday morning, Sunnyvale police announced they were trying to contact Luong “Tammy” Huynh, because she “may have information that will help us locate” the boy, according to the department’s Twitter account.

Anderson said Huynh is not considered a suspect. Rather, she was seen on surveillance footage at the motel around the time the vehicle was stolen, and authorities cannot reach her.

Anderson asked that anyone with information about Huynh contact Sunnyvale police at 408-730-7100.

“She’s just someone we need to talk to,” Anderson said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office, the San Jose Police Department’s Air Support Unit and the California Highway Patrol assisted in the investigation.

Authorities had asked that anyone who sees the boy or the vehicle call 911.

“We’re hopeful this was someone taking a car not realizing there was a kid in the back of it, but we’re treating it with the seriousness of a child abduction,” Anderson said. “Anyone of us who has kids, this is our worst nightmare. I know the mom, Melissa, that she’s scared to death for her son. So we’re working until we find him.”

Toddler found safe, healthy inside stolen SUV; Amber Alert deactivated