A Texas couple was arrested in Topeka on Wednesday after they abducted their three children, who they do not have custody of, during a supervised visit.
Jeffrey and Maria Gilseth, both 32, unlawfully took their three biological children during a planned visit in Killeen, Texas, police said. The couple was arrested just before 1 p.m. at the I-70 tollbooth in East Topeka, according to U.S. Marshal Ron Miller.
Their car was spotted in Riley County by the Fugitive Task Force.
Officers followed their car until they found a safe spot to arrest them and blocked in their vehicle at the toll booth.
Authorities had been searching for the three kids, 11, 9 and 4, since Feb. 21.
The parents lost custody of the children “due to a history of family violence,” authorities said.
Maria’s brother told KWKT News in Texas that the couple may have taken their children because they weren’t confident that they would regain custody.
Jeffrey’s lawyer believes that is not true.
“Now I obviously don’t condone taking the children and running from them, but I can sure understand it,” said Eddie Shell, Jeffrey Gilseth’s attorney. “Because the parental feeling you have for your kids when someone is unjustly trying to stand in the way is huge.”
Shell believes he can get the couple of our the charges.
“I thank god that Texas allows you to have a jury trial because I believe we can convince 12 people in McCullough County that this was wrong, but by golly it’s certainly understandable and that the best place for these kids is with the parents,” said Shell.
Another lead in the case came when Jeffrey sent a 30 minute video to our sister station in Austin, Texas, KXAN.
But in the video, Jeffrey can be heard asking his oldest son questions about his safety to prove the boys weren’t in danger.
The kids are in police custody and the parents will be extradited to Texas to face the charges.