Police in Beulah arrested a woman on the run from Oregon authorities and returned a 7-year-old girl missing since September to her father.
Alison Crawford-Bylenga, 49, of Washington, was arrested Saturday on a kidnapping warrant, Beulah Police Chief Frank Senn said. Crawford-Bylenga had lost parental rights to the child through a court judgment. She traveled from Washington to Oregon on Sept. 27 and “grabbed the kid and took off,” Senn said.
The investigation in Beulah started Friday with a tip to the Williston Police Department that the woman was hiding in the area. It's unclear how long she had been there. She was arrested at a home in Beulah that she purchased under an alias, before the child was abducted, Senn said.
The information to Williston police was forwarded to Beulah authorities. Beulah police arrested Crawford-Bylenga with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service and Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.
The girl was placed temporarily with social services and reunited with her father after he traveled to North Dakota from Oregon. The girl’s father for a time had feared the worst -- that his daughter was dead -- after learning that the body of a girl about the same age had been found in Oregon, Senn said. The man got that news about four hours before Senn’s department told him his daughter was safe.
“He was an emotional wreck when we were able to get the child back to him,” Senn said.
Authorities believe Crawford-Bylenga was making her way to Canada and planned to cross the border near Columbus, Senn said. The investigation into the alleged kidnapping -- including the possibility that there are accomplices -- is ongoing, the chief said.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com