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4 children safe, dad in custody after Amber Alert sparks dramatic CA highway standoff

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SANTEE, Calif. (PIX11) – An Amber Alert prompted a dramatic standoff atop a California highway overpass Thursday, ending in the arrest of the driver and rescue of his four boys.

Authorities were searching for the Montebello man, identified as 39-year-old Daniel Diego Perez, after a woman’s body was found in the back of the family car, according to FOX 5 San Diego.  Perez’s wife is missing, police say, but authorities would not confirm that her body was the one found in the trunk.

Around 9 a.m., El Cajon police officers spotted a black 2014 Toyota Camry with a license plate matching the Amber Alert.  The officers gave chase and were joined by the California Highway Patrol, finally surrounding the car on a transition ramp from Route 52 to Route 167.

Two of the boys got out of the car and walked back to police during the negotiation, but Perez and the remaining two stayed in the car, prompting authorities to call in SWAT officers.

Around 9:50 a.m., a team decided to rush the vehicle and Perez fled, attempting to vault off the side of the elevated roadway — a potentially deadly drop.  Officers clad in tactical gear quickly grabbed him before he could make it over the barrier.

Family members told police that they had seen Perez with his 39-year-old wife last Friday.  They said the marriage was unstable and cited several incidences of domestic violence.

The medical examiner is now performing an autopsy to determine the identity of the dead woman.