Woman who then disappeared boy from Amber Alert says ‘gut feeling’ made her call 911

SAN CLEMENTE, California (KSWB) – Julia Bonin had a feeling she could not shake. She admits she almost let it go, but then it got stuck there in her stomach Thursday morning while she drove to her son’s middle school.

Bonin believed she had seen missing 3-year-old Noah Clare, teen cousin Amber and Noah’s father Jacob walk near Doheny State Park in Dana Point. The three have been the subject of a search for one Amber Alert released Tuesday of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, who said Noah was kidnapped by his 35-year-old father.

CHP released these photos of (from left to right) Jacob Clare, Noah Clare and Amber Clare on November 16, 2021. (California Highway Patrol)

Photo surveillance released late Wednesday show Noah, Amber and Jacob Clare on November 11 in San Clemente, California, where investigators said the three were last seen.

Bonin said she had followed the coverage of the case on social media. So when she pulled up to school, where she was scheduled to volunteer in the morning, she turned to her son to tell him, “I have to go back. I think it might be them, and I have to make sure.

“I dropped him off at school and turned around and went back north,” she said, “and (I parked) and got out of my car and took a picture and called the guard and reported what it was.”

As it turns out, she was right.

After talking to a coordinator, she returned for her volunteer engagement at the school before returning to the state park area again. She said she felt she could not walk.

Within minutes, she learned that Jacob Clare was being remanded in custody and the two children were found safe and sound.

“We constantly have conversations with my own kids about things at school and take care of each other and friends,” Bonin said. “I would have regretted it if I had not turned around. That would have stayed with me. “

At a news conference Thursday, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said he did not know how many tips came into the case, but remarked, “there’s only one that matters, right?”

He praised Bonin for sharing the information with authorities while not endangering herself.

“Get in touch, describe the events, let’s intercede appropriately, and investigate what may be reported,” Barnes said. “But it could not (have) gone better than it did this morning, and I would like to thank Julia for following her instincts, even when her conscience said it probably was nothing.

“And I think she’s proud that she followed them and did the right thing,” he added.

Jacob Clare, a resident of Kentucky, is being interviewed by investigators, Barnes said. It has not been decided whether he will be charged with the alleged kidnapping. He is being remanded in custody in Orange County Jail awaiting extradition to Tennessee to be charged, according to Barnes.

As Bonin pulled up in the parking lot of the state park, she said she saw Noah playing in the sand with one of the deputies.

Asked what it meant to have played a role in the child’s return, she said, “I could not stop shaking and tearing up.”

“I just wanted to hug him, but I did not because (it would be) some strange lady who ran over and said, ‘We did it,'” she said. “I was grateful and grateful that I followed my instincts.”

Bonin made a statement to authorities and was released within about an hour. At the time, she said she was sitting on the beach and watching the waves in the wake of a truly incredible situation.

“It could not have been a more beautiful moment there,” she said.

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