#missingkids | Suspect arrested, children safe in Cottage Grove abduction case

A man allegedly abducted two toddlers from a home in Cottage Grove and assaulted their mother before setting off an intense search Friday morning. He also violated an order of protection, authorities said.

Law enforcement from more than a dozen agencies joined the search for Jeffrey Lo, who was found in a residential area near 70th Street and Hinton Avenue about three hours after he sped from the woman’s home in a minivan with the girls, ages 1 and 3, in the back seat, said Pete Koerner, director of Public Safety for the Cottage Grove Police Department.

Lo, 25, was arrested and taken to the city’s jail for questioning.

Events unfolded about 6:35 a.m. when Lo “violently attacked” the woman as she put her kids into a minivan, Koerner said.

Lo allegedly was hiding in the vehicle.

The woman escaped, but Lo sped off in a 2004 tan Toyota Sienna with the kids inside.

A passerby stopped to help the woman and called 911, Koerner said.

That triggered an Amber Alert from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and sent city, state and federal authorities into action.

The search drew a heavy law enforcement presence, including the FBI, while helicopters hovered over the area.

Residents in the immediate area were told to stay in their homes with the doors locked, and vehicles nearby were stopped and searched by the police, said Lisa Hennessey, a resident who saw squad cars with lights flashing and officers with guns drawn.

“This is such a quiet and safe neighborhood,” she said. “It’s unsettling [that] it was so close to home.”

In a precautionary measure, Oltman Middle School, at 6625 Goodview Av. S., implemented a modified lockdown.

A K-9 led police to Lo and the toddlers about 10:40 a.m. Lo was arrested without incident, Koerner said.

The children were in good condition, Koerner said. The mother’s condition was not released.

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