Tonawanda News

June 16, 2014

Amber Alert canceled, father arrested

Staff reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — An amber alert issued by City of Tonawanda police has been cancelled, and the missing 9-year-old girl has been found safe, police said Monday morning.

Samantha Cetola and her father, Kevin Cetola, 46, were found at about 3 a.m. at the Mobil gas station at the corner of Highland Avenue and Colvin Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda.

The City of Tonawanda girl had been missing since 7 p.m. Sunday, when she and her father went for a walk and never returned. Kevin Cetola is in custody and town police have charged him with endangering the welfare of a minor.

City of Tonawanda police activated the state's Amber Alert system overnight after they suspected the girl was abducted. Kevin Cetola and his daughter had left her Tonawanda home for a walk for Father's Day, police said. When they hadn't returned at 10:15 p.m., the girl's mother called police and authorities issued the Amber Alert.

Town of Tonawanda police were assisting in the search after police discovered that Kevin Cetola's cellphone hit off a tower in the area near Kenney Field. Police were actively searching for the pair in the early morning hours in the Brighton-Eggert area and town Officer Joseph Gioele then found them sitting in the Mobil station's Tim Hortons. 

"Gioele was canvasing gas stations, motels and all night coffee shops in the area, including 1235 Colvin Blvd. — the Mobil/Tim Horton’s in his route. He found Kevin Cetola seated in the business with his 9-year-old daughter," town Police Capt. Joseph Carosi said.

The girl and her mother were brought to the police station, where they were interviewed, and authorities then arrested the girl's father. He has been arraigned and is being held pending the results of a medical evaluation. He will be in court Thursday for further proceedings.

Police said they found what may have been a "goodbye shrine" at the Amherst halfway house where Kevin Cetola was living.

Authorities said Kevin Cetola has a history of assault, and a search of Tonawanda News archives finds an aggravated DWI arrest in 2012, during which he was suspected of striking the Citizens Bank building on Niagara Street and several other objects. He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance at the time.