Alert citizen helps catch Amber Alert suspect

The four San Tan Valley children involved in the Oct. 1 Amber Alert were not hurt. There mother was injured but is expected to recover. (Courtesy CBS 5 News)

The four San Tan Valley children involved in the Oct. 1 Amber Alert were not hurt. Their mother was injured but is expected to recover. (Courtesy CBS 5 News)


A San Tan Valley mother and her four children are safe after a man saw an Amber Alert on a mobile app and reported seeing the suspect’s vehicle to police.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety issued an Amber Alert for four kids who had been abducted from San Tan Valley about 8:40 p.m. Oct. 1

Bill O’Brien saw it on the CBS 5 News mobile app on his phone. He was driving on the Loop 101 at the time.

“The app popped up that here was an Amber Alert,” he said.

Mr. O’Brien noticed the vehicle in front of him matched the description of the Chevy Suburban troopers were looking for.

“I saw the license plate so I called 911, and then I followed them,” Mr. O’Brien said.

Mr. O’Brien followed the vehicle until DPS troopers and Mesa police officers stopped it. Less than 30 minutes passed from the time DPS issued the Amber Alert to the time troopers stopped the vehicle and detained the suspect, Shane Borden.

According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the initial 911 call came it at about 4:30 p.m. Neighbors observed Mr. Borden strike Sarah Johnson and rip off her clothing. It happened outside the couple’s home on East Mountain View Road.

Mr. Borden reportedly knocked Ms. Johnson unconscious and lifted her into his white 2007 Chevy Suburban. Mr. Borden left the area with Johnson and their four children – Nicole, 3, Timothy, 5, Tauren, 7, and Nehemiah, 8.

The children were not hurt and Ms. Johnson is expected to recover from her injuries.

It is not clear if the couple has a history of domestic violence.

The U.S. Department of Justice has set general guidelines for issuing Amber Alert:

•Law enforcement confirms an abduction
•Risk of serious bodily injury or death
•Sufficient descriptive information
•Age of child/children

Arizona has its own requirements. All five must be met before DPS can issue an Amber Alert:

•An abduction of a child (under 18) has occurred.
•The abduction poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily injury of death to the child.
•A law enforcement agency has determined that the child is not a runaway and has not been abducted as a result of a child custody dispute, unless the dispute poses a credible and or specific threat of serious bodily harm or death to the child.
•There is sufficient descriptive information about the child, abductor and the circumstances surrounding the abduction to indicate that the activation of the Amber Alert will locate the child and/or suspect.
•There is information available to disseminate to the general public, which could assist in the safe recovery of the child and/or the apprehension of a suspect.

“The AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert Plan was created as a powerful legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, Texas,” reads the DPS Amber Alert page.

Editor’s note: Through partnership Independent Newspapers is publishing information provided by CBS 5 News. The story can be found here.

Catherine Holland writes for CBS 5 News

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