So. Salt Lake Police: Women who sparked Amber Alert jailed on multiple felony charges

Left to right, Yaneli Murillo and Maria Alvarez. Inset photos: South Salt Lake Police Department; background photo: Max Pixel

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah, April 21, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A mother and daughter arrested in connection with Wednesday’s Amber Alert out of South Salt Lake have been booked into jail on multiple felony charges.

Yaneli Morales Murillo, 22, faces initial charges of:

  • Two counts of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony
  • Two counts of obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony
  • Two counts of child abuse involving physical injury, a class A misdemeanor

Maria Murillo Alvarez, 38, faces initial charges of:

  • Two counts of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony
  • Two counts of obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony

South Salt Lake Police were dispatched to an apartment in the area of 60 E. Sunset Ave. after a report from a caseworker for the Division of Child and Families. The caseworker said that after a ruling that Murillo’s two children, an infant boy and a toddler girl, should be taken into state custody for their own safety, Murillo disappeared with the children.

“Caseworkers gave information that (the toddler girl) was born drug dependent and there were multiple DCFS cases involving Yaneli and the two children. Yaneli has recently tested positive for drugs,” says Murillo’s probable cause statement, which is nearly identical to her mother’s.

“DCFS contacted Yaneli by telephone. Yaneli was with her mother Maria Murillo (Alvarez). Both Yaneli and Maria refused to return the children. Shortly after the phone call a text message was received by the DCFS case worker from Maria’s phone. The caseworker believed it was drafted by Yaseli as it was drafted in English, and Maria only speaks Spanish,” the statement says.

“The text message read ‘Because of what they did to me, I’m here, that was the help they gave me, Because the children didn’t let me, and I did it wrong so that you made me kill the children, and I failed them.'”

The probable cause statement says that South Salt Lake police learned that Maria Murillo Alvarez, who elects to go by the surname Murillo, had a 9-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter at a local elementary school, and the children “had been checked out at 10 a.m. by Yaseli Murillo, who is their older sister.”

Amber Alert

The South Salt Lake Police Department issued an Amber Alert for the two women and four children.

“The caseworker told your affiant that she had been left a voicemail by Yaneli. Yaneli was upset the children had been put on the news,” the probable cause statements say. “She
told the caseworker she would turn herself in but not the children or Maria.”

Officer learned Murillo’s location, at a residence in West Valley City.

“DCFS said that Yaneli had been in contact with her attorney and was advised to wait on the porch with the children,” Murillo’s probable cause statement says.

“There they located Yaneli, Maria and all four children. The children were turned over to DCFS. Yaneli and Maria were placed into custody and transported to the South Salt Lake Police Department.”

Post Miranda, Murillo told officers she was told earlier that her children “were going to be placed into DCFS custody. After the hearing, Yaneli smoked methamphetamine. She said she then left with her two children. Maria told Yaneli to retrieve (her school-age son and daughter) from school fearing police would take them into custody as well. Yaneli said she and Maria hid the two cars they were driving at a mechanic shop in West Valley so police would not find them.

“She said Maria sent the text message to DCFS eluding to the children being killed. Yaneli said that was a mistake as Maria was possibly using Google Translate. She said Maria was trying to tell DCFS that she didn’t trust them and would not turn over the children.”

The probable cause statement says Murillo’s “apartment was found in disarray with deplorable living conditions. The Salt Lake County Health Department was contacted and the apartment was closed to occupancy.”

Asked about the condition of her apartment, Murillo told the officer “it was in that condition because they were in the process of moving and the children were messy.”

Post Miranda, Alvarez declined to speak with police.

Murillo and Alvarez were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail, where they are being held without bail.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here