UPDATE: Father in custody; three brothers found safe

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that Richard “John” Burke has been taken into custody and the three children have been found safe in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Conner Burke, 7; Keegan Burke, 7; and Rhys Burke, 6, had been taken by their father, Richard “John” Burke, on March 23, who investigators say likely fled the state.

Richard “John” Burke has a $500,000 felony warrant issued by Snohomish County for three counts of custodial interference.

Their mother notified law enforcement on April 4 that Burke, her ex-husband, recently refused to return the children to her custody.

According to court documents, she said the children were supposed to be returned on March 24.

She said Burke is currently homeless and had been staying at the Extended Stay America in Silver Lake.

On April 2, police contacted the motel’s manager, who told them Burke had recently checked out. However. the room appeared to be in disarray and the manager believed it appeared he left in a hurry.

The mother told police that she is extremely fearful for the children’s safety because Burke is “convinced of governmental conspiracy and trusts no one.”

Burke sent an email to her saying he would return the children on March 28, but he did not.

On March 29, the mother received an email from the school, saying they had received a “concerning” email from Burke.

The email thanked the school and the teachers for their latest efforts with the children and noted “under different circumstances” that their school would have been ideal.

He went on to suggest that “forcing children to wear masks 7 hours a day” was “an absolute crime.”

He believed masks “seriously diminished oxygen levels” which would eventually lead to “short and long term cognitive and health problems.”

He noted that one of the children already struggles to breathe and the masks pose a “clear and present danger to him.”

Burke continued, “Not to mention trapping your exhaust all day provides the perfect warm, damp breeding ground bacteria needs to grow.”

He blamed vaccines for nearly killing one of the children when the child was given eight vaccines at two months of age.

“He is still recovering and as long as I’m alive, will never be vaccinated again.”

Burke wrote that he could “mitigate the psychological damage constant and prolonged mask wearing is known to cause” by allowing the children to wear a gator mask, but since that was no longer permitted, he became worried that “everyone was in lockstep marching toward mandatory testing and vaccinations.”

“I made the scary realization that I could not trust my children to the care of the school, their mother, or the system,” Burke concluded.

After realizing their mother intended to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Burke wrote, “I will not stand for it when it comes to my children.”

Burke then forwarded the email back to the mother, adding, “For reasons stated below in the email to the school and dozens of other reasons, the Burke boys will be living on their own. You have only yourself to blame.”

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