NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The families of two children at the center of a nationwide search are on their way to California to be reunited with their kids.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reports that 3-year-old Noah Clare and 16-year-old Amber Clare have been found safe and sound, just outside of San Clemente, California. Jacob “Jake” Clare is also in custody.
Noah’s grandmother credited God and prayers for his safe recovery. She shared a picture sent to them by the TBI showing Noah with a big smile and a thumbs up. She said Noah’s hair has been cut since he was reported missing, a change that broke his mother’s heart, but the family is now focused on his homecoming.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Noah, his father Jake, and 16-year-old cousin Amber were found in Dana Point near Doheny State Beach Campground in California.
It was a concerned mother who recognized the trio and called the police just before 9 a.m. PST. Julia Bonin said she turned around following her instinct before calling dispatch. “I was actually apologetic when I called dispatch because I wasn’t, I had a feeling that it was, but there was nothing abusive, the kid looked happy and just skipping along.”
Her feelings overwhelmed with relief when she saw Jake arrested. “I couldn’t stop shaking and tearing up. I just wanted to go hug them, but I didn’t because some strange lady running across saying we did it. I was thankful and just grateful that I followed my instinct,” Julia said.
The search efforts were really a community effort as people thousands of miles away searched for the missing Tennessee boy after the father’s car was found in San Clemente.
“People down here were just, it was everywhere. Everyone was blasting it and it was let’s find them, let’s look for them, you know, keep your eyes out, and it was very much a community effort,” neighbor Audrey Speth told News 2.
Investigators believe Noah’s father, Jacob, left Kentucky with him and his missing cousin Amber either late Friday, November 5, or early Saturday, November 6, to drop off the 3-year-old, but they never arrived in Gallatin.
On November 16, TBI upgraded the alert for 3-year-old Noah Clare to an AMBER Alert.
Later that day, the Subaru Legacy that was reportedly being driven by Jacob was found in California. Some of the items found inside the Subaru include packaged meals, instant milk, blankets, and clothing.
On Wednesday, photos taken by a surveillance camera in San Clemente last week were released. Officials said it was the first time since their disappearance they have been able to “definitively place” Amber with Jacob.
The Orange County Sheriff said Jacob didn’t resist deputies. He is facing aggravated kidnapping and custodial interference charges out of Sumner County and being questioned by investigators in California where he could face additional charges. Noah and his teenage cousin are safe and healthy, according to the sheriff but they were also being interviewed so they can investigate thoroughly.
Clare will likely be arraigned Friday. The sheriff said if he waives extradition he could be brought to Sumner County within a matter of days. However, if he challenges extradition, it could take a few weeks.