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Couple charged with kidnapping kids and fleeing to N.M. appear in court

Christopher John Montoya, 35, and Monica Jody Martinez, 27.
Christopher John Montoya, 35, and Monica Jody Martinez, 27.
Composite Photo, McKinley County Adult Detention

FARMINGTON — A couple accused of kidnapping the two daughters they do not have custody of and fleeing to New Mexico has been extradited back to Utah and made their first court appearance Monday.

Christopher John Montoya, 35, and Monica Jody Martinez, 27, are charged with two counts each of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and one count of burglary, a second-degree felony. The couple was returned to Utah last week from Gallup, New Mexico.

Montoya and Martinez have been booked into Davis County Jail and made initial court appearances Monday afternoon. Montoya will return to court June 22, while Martinez's next hearing was set for June 13.

According to police, Montoya and Martinez took their two children, 3-year-old Marae Montoya and 11-month-old Cynthia Montoya, from the home where they were being cared for on the afternoon of May 5.

The couple no longer has custody of the girls and has a no-contact court order in place due to a history of domestic violence with the children present, according to a warrant for their arrest.

The May 5 incident triggered an Amber Alert, which was seen by an alert Motel 6 clerk in Gallup who recognized the couple when they requested a room about 4 a.m. the next day. The attendant checked Montoya into a room, verified that his vehicle matched the one in the Amber Alert, and notified police.

Officers arrested the couple without incident and recovered the children.

According to the arrest warrant, the couple went to a Division of Child and Family Services office in Clearfield prior to seeking out his daughters in Clinton. Montoya was "very combative, threatening and agitated" and appeared to be under the influence of controlled substances, the warrant states.

Following a confrontation, Montoya left the office suddenly, went to Clinton and took the children, police say.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero