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BUFFALO CENTER — Two people have been charged in a child abduction case in Buffalo Center.

The children, ages 3 and 1, were recovered safely in Fort Dodge early Thursday, according to a statement from the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Authorities say Ashley Machain, the children’s biological mother, allegedly brandished a knife when she and alleged accomplice Daniel Smith took the children from a house in Buffalo Center Wednesday afternoon.

Machain and Smith have both been charged with felony second-degree burglary. Machain faces an additional charge of felony child endangerment while Smith has also been charged with misdemeanor driving while barred.

Around 4:25 p.m. Wednesday, Buffalo Center Police Chief Matt Holmquist was flagged down by a motorist and alerted to suspicious activity near the 400 block of Second Street Northwest, according to authorities.

A man and woman were allegedly seen walking up to a house and acting suspiciously. Several minutes later the two were seen leaving with two small children, authorities said.

They allegedly walked to a silver SUV that had been parked a distance away from the house.

The Buffalo Center Police Department and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the incident. A babysitter at the house told law enforcement the children were taken by an unknown male and the children’s biological mother, Machain.

Law enforcement began searching for the silver SUV, Machain and the male suspect. At 2:25 a.m. the two children were recovered safely in Fort Dodge, authorities say.

Machain and Smith were taken into police custody. On Friday morning a spokesman for the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office said Smith was in that county’s jail while Machain was in the Kossuth County Jail.

Agencies assisting in the case included the Forest City Police Department, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa State Patrol, the Fort Dodge Police Department, the Faribault County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office, the Wells (Minnesota) Police Department, the Webster County Sheriff’s Office, the Ames Police Department, the Iowa State University Police Department, the Department of Human Services and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.


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