Missing DeLand children found safe, mother in custody after high speed chase, deputies say

DELAND, Fla. — Two missing Volusia County children are safe and their mother is in custody after being located by deputies in Columbia County.

Isabelle Jones, 11, and Xzavier Espinosa, 5, were reported missing after they were not returned to their grandparents at 5:30 p.m. Friday, the Sheriff's Office said.

The children's mother, 29-year-old Margarita Gutierrez, was arrested after investigators said she went on a crime spree with the children in the back seat.

Gutierrez met the children at a Lowe's in DeLand during an unsupervised visit, deputies said. When Gutierrez didn't return her children, her parents, who have custody of the children, called 911.

A homeowner in Lake City called police on Gutierrez after she allegedly burglarized their home.

Officials said Gutierrez then led police on a chase reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour with her children in the backseat before she eventually gave herself up.

The children's grandmother was given custody due to a violent domestic living environment with Gutierrez and her boyfriend.

Gutierrez faces charges of interfering with custody, burglary of a residence, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest without violence and child abuse.

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