Missing children located safe in Keene, father is charged with killing mother


Associated Press

Published: 03-01-2024 9:18 AM

Modified: 03-01-2024 7:46 PM

Two young children who were the subject of an extensive search by New Hampshire police were found safe at a restaurant parking lot Friday with their father, who is accused of killing their mother, authorities said.

Police had earlier issued an Amber Alert after finding the children's mother dead Thursday night at an apartment in the city of Berlin. The children and their father were found at an Applebee’s parking lot in the city of Keene, about 170 miles away. Authorities said people had spotted the car identified in the alert and called police.

An autopsy Friday found Caitlyn Naffziger, 31, had died from a single gunshot wound to the head, said Attorney General John Formella. Dustin Mark Duren, 37, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Witness Rick Fuller said he saw about five local police cars and a state trooper converge on a white car in the Applebee's lot between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Fuller, who owns Rick’s Gourmet Ice Cream store across the street, said there were no sirens and the event seemed relatively low key and controlled. He saw only two officers draw their weapons while others did not.

Fuller said his view was partially obscured, but he saw one officer holding a small girl and then a woman came over and put two blankets on her. He said an ambulance also showed up.

He said he knew immediately what was happening because he had received the Amber Alert.

“I was just surprised that they ended up in Keene,” Fuller said.

Authorities had issued the Amber Alert just after 4 a.m. for the abduction of 4-year-old Elowyn Duren and 1-year-old Vaelyn Duren.

Authorities had said the father was possibly armed and dangerous and shouldn't be approached. He was driving a white 2017 Subaru Impreza with veteran license plates, which was last seen in Concord.

Formella said police first responded about 10:30 p.m. Thursday to the Main Street apartment, where they found Naffziger's body. Before the children were found, they had last been seen at about 8 p.m. Thursday in Berlin with their father.

Duren is scheduled to be arraigned in Berlin on Monday.

Authorities said they wanted to thank not only Keene police but also people throughout the state who had taken notice of the Amber Alert and had helped find the children.