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Santa Maria boy found safe, abductor killed by Los Angeles police

A Santa Maria boy who was the subject of an Amber Alert connected to a homicide investigation has been found safe and his abductor — believed to be his father — has died, authorities announced Tuesday night.

The ordeal ended with an officer-involved shooting Tuesday evening in the San Fernando Valley related to the search for the suspect in the Santa Maria killing and the boy he abducted.

About 8:15 p.m., the California Highway Patrol tweeted that an Amber Alert for the suspect, 48-year-old Konstantin Morozov, and 9-year-old Daniel Morozov had been canceled.

About 90 minutes earlier, officers with the Los Angeles Police Department shot and critically wounded Konstantin Morozov on the 5500 block of Lindley Avenue in Encino, according to Officer Mike Lopez.

“The suspect exited a home along with the 9-year-old boy, and that’s when an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Lopez said.

Members of the LAPD and FBI were conducting surveillance on the residence in hopes of finding the missing man and child.

The suspect was taken into custody immediately and transported to a local hospital where he later died, Lopez said, adding that no officers were injured.

A firearm was recovered at the scene, Lopez added.

“I can tell you the child is safe and the investigation is continuing,” Santa Maria Police Chief Phil Hansen told Noozhawk.

The boy is in protective custody with the Department of Family and Children Services in the Los Angeles County area, Lopez said.

The Amber Alert was issued Monday night, just hours after a woman was shot to death in what appears to be a case of domestic violence.

The woman — whose name has not been released by authorities but has been shared widely on social media as the child’s mother, Natalia Morozova — was killed on the 200 block of North College Drive at about 8:45 p.m., according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

On Tuesday afternoon, a black Jeep Cherokee associated with Konstantin Morozov was located in a Santa Barbara neighborhood, but neither he nor the boy was located at that time.

A witness told Noozhawk that he saw a man exit the Jeep about 2:45 a.m. Tuesday and get into an older, light-colored sedan.

On Tuesday night, a special memorial for the slain mother and missing boy was held at the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Orcutt. A representative asked reporters to respect church officials’ request for no media coverage from inside the service.

Daniel is enrolled as a student at Pine Grove Elementary School, Orcutt Union School District officials said Tuesday.

“Due to the Amber Alerts and to ensure staff and student safety we had district office staff, psychologists, and counselors available at the school this morning,” Superintendent Deborah Blow said Tuesday. “We also requested a police presence in the area.”

The school will provide the support for the remainder of the week, she said.

“We will continue to make available whatever support is necessary to keep our students and staff safe,” Blow added.

With the young boy at risk, Santa Maria police worked with multiple agencies to pinpoint the location of the suspect and child, Hansen said, describing the investigation as monumental.

“It was a really wonderful collaboration between a number of agencies, and the child is safe,” Hansen added.

The chief only took over the helm of the agency this summer, but has been in law enforcement for 40 years and recognized this could have ended differently.

“I’m very relieved that this child is safe and we’re proud of the effort put forth by our folks,” Hansen said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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