'Person of interest' released after 3 missing Tonganoxie foster - KCTV5

'Person of interest' released after 3 missing Tonganoxie foster children found safe

Posted: Updated:
TONGANOXIE, KS (KCTV/AP) -

Kansas City police have released the man who they say was at one time believed to be a person of interest in the disappearances of three foster girls from Tonganoxie.

Tonganoxie police chief Jeffery Brandau says police in Kansas City, MO arrested the 48-year-old Rigoberto Reyes Rangel, also known as Rico Rangel, early Tuesday, hours after identifying him as a "person of interest" and saying the 12-, 14- and 15-year-old girls would be "in danger" if they were with him.

Rangel was being detained on a 24-hour investigative hold. Kansas City Police Department spokesperson Darin Snapp said Tonganoxie police told them they did not have enough evidence to charge him and asked for police to release him.

Rangel was released from Kansas City police custody about 9:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Police say the girls lied to Rangel and told him they were being abused at their foster home. Rangel told officers he was only trying to help the girls escape what he thought was an abusive environment.

All three girls were living in the same foster home until they left on Aug. 26 and never came back.

Before being found, the three girls had been seen in Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO in the area of 31st Street heading toward Van Brunt Boulevard. 

Police say there are no signs that Rico abused or hurt the girls.

Lt. Jarrod Gill says the search wore on the officers - and on the girls’ great aunt and uncle - who’ve had custody ever since the girls’ mother was deemed unfit.

Police say Rangel is the ex-boyfriend of the girls’ mother.

The FBI is now assisting Tonganoxie, and the chief says they are looking into not just Rangel, but anyone who might have been involved in criminal conduct related to the girls running away.

The case led to broader concerns among lawmakers who learned last week during a Statehouse meeting that more than 70 foster children are missing in Kansas. The number of missing represents about 1 percent of the state's foster care population, which is in line with the national average.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.