Dane Alexander Wright, taken into custody after three children who were the subject of an Amber Alert were found safe at a south Wichita motel, has been jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder, arson and endangering a child, Sedgwick County jail records show.
The children – ages 2, 5 and 12 – “are safe and sound,” Wichita police chief Gordon Ramsay said Friday. They were found alone in a room of the Heritage Inn motel, near 47th Street South and Broadway, after an intense search and a public plea for help in finding them, and in finding Wright, who police thought was with them.
The Amber Alert was issued for the children after the body of a woman police say the children were associated with was found in the basement of a burning house at 321 N. Ash on Friday afternoon.
Wright, 29, was found outside a Dillons store near the hotel. Ramsay said a “good Samaritan” notified authorities about a suspicious character in the area, which led to the man’s arrest and the children’s recovery. Wright was taken into custody without any trouble, Ramsay said.
Police and fire officials on Friday said there were many things they were investigating, including whether the fire led to the woman’s death. Police were questioning the children.
The children will be placed in the state’s custody for the time being. “They appear unharmed,” Ramsay said. He added that the children would be interviewed.
Wichita police considered the woman’s death suspicious, according to the Amber Alert, but they don’t know yet how she died. The coroner will determine the woman’s cause of death and confirm her identity during an autopsy, Ramsay said.
Wright’s relationship to the children and to the woman was unclear Friday night.
Police said the children are associated with her but did not offer specifics.
Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle