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Date: November 20, 2014

Sugarloaf woman pleads guilty to child abduction charges

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A mother accused of kidnapping her son from the child’s father and taking the child to Mexico pleaded guilty today to felony child abduction charges.

The defendant’s mother, Wanda Epperley, 64, of Sugarloaf, who was charged with aiding and abetting in the abduction, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child abduction.

On Nov. 6, investigators from the Child Abduction Unit of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office recovered 3-year-old Anthony Joseph Tummarello, Jr. at the Calexico Border Patrol Station.

District Attorney Investigators were able to reunite the child with his father, Anthony Tummarello, Sr., 29, of Mount Baldy, later that same night.

On Nov. 6, District Attorney Investigators arrested the young boy’s mother, Melissa Epperley, 32, of Sugarloaf, who was wanted on charges of kidnapping and child abduction.

Melissa Epperley has withheld Anthony, Jr. from his father since Feb. 2013 without the father’s consent and evaded law enforcement.

Melissa Epperley was sentenced to 6 months in County Jail and 5 years’ probation.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Big Bear Station, assisted in the investigation. In addition, the California Department of Justice assisted in the recovery of the child from Mexico.

Contact: Christopher Lee, Public Affairs Officer (909) 382-3665


San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office
303 West 3rd Street, 6th Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415



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It is the mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to represent the interests of the people in the criminal justice system, as mandated by California State law. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office serves the residents of San Bernardino County by: seeking the truth, protecting the innocent; holding the guilty accountable; preserving the dignity of victims and their families; and, ensuring that justice is done while always maintaining the highest ethical standards.

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