Liliana Hernandez, 7, and 6-year-old Rene Pasztor, of Fort Wayne, were found dead in a car behind the Elkhart Police Department on Monday after their estranged mother, Amber Pasztor, allegedly abducted the pair, prompting an Amber Alert, The Elkhart Truth reports.
“[Pasztor] actually approached the officer and stopped and made contact with him,” Elkhart Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Snyder said at a press conference. “When [the officer] made contact with that female, she advised him that there were two deceased people in the back seat of her car.”
Officials issued the alert just after 12:30 p.m. on Monday, noting that the children were last seen at around 6:21 a.m. and were “believed to be in extreme danger.”
Authorities said in the alert that the children were likely taken by their “non-custodial mother Amber Pasztor.”
The coroner confirmed the children found dead Monday are siblings Liliana Hernandez, 7, and Rene Pasztor, 6. Their cause of death was found to be homicide. Police had issued an Amber Alert for the children Monday, saying they were “believed to be in extreme danger” after being abducted by their mother, who did not have custody.
The mother, 29-year-old Amber Pasztor, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been arrested on two preliminary counts of murder after she flagged down a police officer in Elkhart, who made the gruesome discovery.
Police later found the body of Pasztor’s 66-year-old neighbor Frank Macomber, in a wooded area near their Fort Wayne homes.
Elkhart police Sgt. Chris Snyder said investigators were working Tuesday “to put the pieces together” and determine what happened between the time the two youngsters were abducted in Fort Wayne, where they lived with their grandparents, and when their bodies were found in Elkhart, 70 miles to the northwest.
Tuesday, Elkhart County prosecuting attorney Curtis Hill wouldn’t say whether Pasztor led authorities to Macomber’s body, but said she gave information that was helpful to the investigation. Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Karen Richards said MacComber had been shot to death.
He was likely killed in Allen County before the children were abducted, Richards said. The car in which the children’s bodies were found belonged to him, and had been described in the Amber Alert, according to Richards.
Other than the fact that they were neighbors and knew each other, the relationship between Pasztor and Macomber remains unclear. They were believed to be together at some point on Monday.
WSBT reports Amber Pasztor’s father said she has battled a drug addiction and he’s had custody of the children for a little more than a year.
Snyder said Pasztor parked outside the Elkhart’s police department Monday evening and began speaking to an officer who was leaving after completing his shift.
“She pulled up to him and explained to him that she was part of the Amber Alert and the two kids were in the back seat,” Snyder said, adding that the officer then saw the bodies of two children in the car.
He said police have no indication of a motive in the case. Snyder said Pasztor was initially cooperative following her arrest before “she became pretty emotional. And that’s kind of where our detectives left it last night.”
Police “are still actively investigating the case” and prosecutors haven’t received their findings, Elkhart County Prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Shelley Murphy said. She added that a magistrate will review probable cause information in the case Wednesday and formal charges will be filed later this week against Pasztor.
Pasztor was being held in the Elkhart County jail. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Pasztor had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
Hill called the case a “senseless tragedy.”
“It’s a horrific thought that one minute you have a lively, bright, energetic 6-year-old and 7-year-old, and the next their lives are snuffed out,” Hill said.
How does this woman know this man? It’s 100% likely that she killed him too. Her father states she has a drug addiction, so perhaps she gave a sob story and received compassion from Frank, or… well she was turning tricks and Frank was a customer.
How did this mother get these children away from the grandparents? Do you think they allowed it? Perhaps they were being forgiving and let her take them for a minute. Maybe she appeared to be sober and they dropped their guards. The story should say something about this.
And as far as we know this guy was just caught in the middle.
What makes a mother do this to their own children? It’s something we can’t comprehend. And we can blame drugs again this time, but what are drugs just an excuse for bad behavior?
Every mother who uses drugs doesn’t kill their children, however they are guilty of abuse and neglect. Every one of them. It is impossible to be a good parent and a drug addict. They do not go together.
Amber has an extensive criminal past. From misdemeanors which include domestic violence, trespassing, DUI with serious bodily injury, Battery, Disorderly conduct and now, MURDER. But why did she kill this man? Was it to accuse him of killing the children? Was it her plan to take his car, kill her children, kill him not necessarily in that order but then frame him for the murder? Because the report states that he was found and possibly killed before the children were. So getting rid of him first could possibly give her a stronger case. You know I had said it before though many women killed their children they hide them in some of the strangest places like behind stores still inside of the car, behind police stations. They don’t really put a whole lot of thought into it unless they’ve had ample time to plan that murder.
(Neighbors of Pasztor say she has a dark, mysterious past, leaving them suspicious and blatantly claiming she’s a murderer.
“She was kind of rowdy… crazy,” Jeannette Schimes told WNDU. “She always had people over and was always doing drugs.”
Schimes says she always kept an eye on Pasztor, and would never let her around other family members.
“I’d never let her watch my kids… ever. I would never,” Schimes says. “She’s way too messed up. She’s always really, really [explicit] up on drugs.”
Monday’s murders are not the first run-in with the law for Pasztor. She has an extensive criminal record including a felony for a DUI in 2006, and numerous misdemeanors dating back more than a decade.
The alleged father of the two children, Rene Hernandez, was found dead in 2010 with his manner of death ruled a homicide. Schimes believes the connection is clear between Pasztor and Hernandez’s murder.
“She’s a murderer. She’s a [explicit] murderer,” she says. “How do you even put your kids and murder in the same sentence, let alone action? That’s just disturbing.”
Pasztor is currently being held in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on a warrant for violating a protective order, with a probable cause hearing for the murders being held in Elkhart Wednesday.)
Prosecutors plan to formally charge Pasztor with two counts of murder for the deaths of her two children later this week.
That’s one thing I’ve said before. You can fool those who are at a distance from you but your neighbors you cannot fool them. And if the neighbor said this girl was fucked up and always high, that’s exactly what it was.
It’s not like she does not have a history of violence. That’s why I said earlier in the story. I believe she killed that man, and I believe she killed her fiance. There may be others.
The daughter of Frank Macomber speaks out.
— The daughter of a man found dead Tuesday morning tells 21Alive he was a kind man, and she never trusted Amber Pasztor.
She encouraged her dad to stay away.
Michelle Troye said her dad’s body was pulled from the 6600 block of Wallen Road Tuesday.
As you can imagine, its been an emotional day for her family.
Troye said she knew something was wrong when her dad didn’t’ show up for dinner Sunday night.
“Two police officers arrived at my house at around 6:30 to let me know that my dad was found and that he was no longer with us,” she said.
The news was devastating, but Troye said she had a feeling her dad was in danger.
When she called him, the call went straight to voicemail.
“I already knew. My dad would never not answer the phone to me,” she said.
“He would tell me all the time. She’s just coming over too often and just harping at me about you need to give me this or you need to give me that and he’s like it’s super abrasive and just very pushy and I don’t like that she’s so pushy. And I told him I don’t like this girl and I don’t want her around you. I don’t have a good feeling about her,” Troye said.
Police did not tell Troye how her father died, but she says if Pasztor had something to do with it, she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
She says what comforts her now is remembering the happy times she shared with her dad.
“My dad was by far the greatest guy I’ve ever known in my entire life. And I think that anybody who has ever known my dad would agree with that statement.”
So they were in a relationship? That’s what it seems like to me. Or perhaps… no they were in some type of relationship. You know men fall into that habit of trying to be Rescuers as well. This is such a horrible horrible story and this poor guy lost his life just trying to reach out and help someone. He did not realize what he had on his hands.
This woman is a con artist. Most drug abusers are some of the most craftiest manipulators you could ever meet. They have absolutely no problem with shaming you for not helping them. They walk around with this attitude like you owe them something. So selfish. Giving birth to those beautiful children and just taking their lives.
My condolences to the families who lost their loved ones because of this selfish individual. My heart goes out to the grandparents. I don’t know how she got these children away from you. Regardless no one deserves this. This woman is a menace to society.
Timeline of events
6:18 a.m. Officials said the children were taken from their home.
6:21 a.m. The Allen County police were called to the house to begin investigating who had been taken, who had taken them and where they might be going. Officials are trying to piece together what happened and to determine if an AMBER alert is warranted.
6:43 a.m. Police begin to ping Amber Pasztor’s phone to see if they can find out where she might be.
7:40 a.m. Officers request to start an AMBER alert. Officers now have to gather specific information – the names of the children and the adults involved, updated pictures, height, weight and descriptions of what they were last wearing among other criteria that is needed to issue the alert.
8:30 the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and A Child is Missing get involved and must confirm all of the information from officials.
In the midst of confirming and cross-checking information officials have told Fort Wayne’s NBC they did have to correct a mistake. The initial spelling of the children’s names was incorrect. That was changed and officials said that took about eight minutes to correct.
10:10 Allen County Police can send an official request for an AMBER alert. At this point, everything is out of the Allen County Police Department’s hands. The information goes to the State Police in Indianapolis who coordinate with the amber alert program.
“I wish you would have know also,” said Captain Steve Stone with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department. “I wish we could have gotten the information to you sooner. It’s not like you see on T.V. where you’re watching everything unfold as it occurs. We have to get the information. We have to confirm the information and the information has to flow through the channels to get out to the media so that you guys can get it out to the general public.”
Many Allen County residents also wondered why they never received text alert on their phones, Monday.
It turns out the combined dispatch center in Allen County doesn’t have the technology to do that.
It would cost about $40,000 in start-up fees but they’d also need funding to maintain it.
The dispatch center’s interim director is already looking into how to get the money to make it happen.