The incident happened shortly before 7 a.m. on Wednesday just outside Flint, Michigan. The unnamed woman drove into an Admiral gas station and stopped her car. Leaving her two-year-old daughter, identified as Arinna Buning, and nine-month-old son, Lincoln Buning, in the back seat of the vehicle, she quickly ran into the gas station. According to Midland Daily News, it was only a moment before the mother left the building again to find that her 2000 Chevy Monte Carlo had been stolen.

Amber Alert issued for the two Michigan children

Burton police were called at 6:58 a.m.

An Amber alert was instantly issued and law enforcement statewide were told to be on the lookout for the vehicle, giving the license plate number, together with photos and a description of the two children and their clothing. A description of the suspect, taken from the surveillance video at the gas station, was also included in the alert.

A police spokesman said in a statement that the two children were found safe and unharmed at 9:45 a.m. and that an intensive search was continuing for the suspect in the car theft. Patterson’s car was taken to the Burton Police Department for fingerprint analysis. However, according to the police spokesman, the video captured at the gas station did not provide a clear image of the suspect, other than that he was a heavy-set male, around 5 ft 10 in in height and weighing around 300 pounds.

Family relieved as the children are found

MLive quotes Courtney Patterson, the children’s grandmother, as saying how relieved she was to hear the children had been found. Patterson said waiting for news of the children had been “pure hell,” saying she couldn’t wait to hold the two children again and see the relief on her daughter’s face.

Patterson went on to thank the Burton police for their efforts and the media and social media for sharing the story. Jeanine Coursen, a great-aunt of the children, was with Patterson at the media briefing and said no one should blame the mother for what happened. Coursen said it was something that could happen to anyone and that the children’s mother made a mistake that she is going to learn from.