ST. PAUL — Three children reported missing from Tennessee are safe after an early morning arrest of two suspects accused of taking the children.

Thursday afternoon a witness reported seeing the suspect’s vehicle in rural Cass County. BCA agents confirmed the presence of the vehicle in a wooded area on property near Motley.

Shortly before 4 a.m. Friday, Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota BCA agents arrested Michale Darrel Christian, 48, and Amanda Colene Essex, 25, both of Spencer, Tenn., on multiple Tennessee warrants for custodial Interference classified as Class E Felonies in the state of Tennessee. Authorities also located three small children — ages 6, 2 and 1.  

The children were reported missing from Maury County, Tenn., July 9. Christian and Essex were named as suspects. The two are non-custodial parents of the three young children. Authorities had reason to believe the group was headed to Minnesota.

Christian and Essex are currently being held in the Crow Wing County jail awaiting extradition to Tennessee. The three children are safe and authorities are working to return them to Tennessee.

Agencies involved in the arrest and recovery include the Cass and Crow Wing County Sheriff’s offices, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Maury County Sheriff’s Department.

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