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WARNER

3 children safe and sound following an Amber Alert

Officials worried about mom's mental state

WARNER - Three young children were returned safely to their home in Merrimack after the state police issued an Amber Alert yesterday.

Julie Baxter's three children, two boys aged 5 and 6, and a girl who was 8 months old, left their home early yesterday. According to Merrimack police Lt. Richard Desmond, Baxter's husband called the police, and due to concerns about Baxter's emotional state, the state police deemed an Amber Alert appropriate. Baxter had said things to her husband and neighbors, Desmond said, that caused the police to be concerned for the safety of Baxter and her children.

Amber Alerts send information about abducted people to police stations, transportation officials and press outlets throughout the state. Information about the missing Baxter children was also broadcast through the Florida-based 'The Child is Missing' alert system, which sends voice messages to phone numbers near the place an abducted person was last spotted.

After leaving her home, Baxter gassed up her car in Belmont, according to Desmond, and the phone alert system was activated in the area, placing more than 900 calls.

Baxter was next spotted on Kearsarge Mountain Road near Rollins State Park in Warner. Desmond said that she asked to borrow the mobile phone of an employee of Public Service of New Hampshire, who was doing electrical work in the area.

She called her husband, who urged her to speak to a Merrimack police officer. According to Desmond, Baxter refused to do so and refused to disclose her whereabouts. But after the call ended, police were able to trace her call and spoke to the utility worker, who described the location.

'He did a great job in saying, 'Yes, she's up here, she's just going down the hill,'' Desmond said.

The Warner police were notified, and stopped Baxter near the entrance to Magdalen College just after 1 p.m., according to Warner police chief Bill Chandler.

Baxter was taken into custody without incident, Chandler said.

'Everybody's safe, The mother is safe. The children are safe,' he said a few hours later.

Baxter and her children were picked up by Merrimack Police in Warner; the children were returned to their father, and Baxter was brought to Southern Memorial Hospital in Nashua for medical treatment, Desmond said.

Though the children were not discovered by anyone who had heard the Amber Alert, Desmond said he felt the system had gone well.

'Luckily everything worked out,' he said. 'We got a lot of good feedback on the Amber Alert.'

By MARGOT SANGER-KATZ

Monitor Staff