James Beaudrie

Des Moines police are trying to track down a man who is accused of sexually abusing several of his nine children. Sergeant Chris Scott says investigators believe 36-year-old James Beaudrie may have fled the country.

Beaudrie’s van was recently found abandoned near both a bus station and train station in Salt Lake City, Utah. His wife, 35-year-old Kijua Beaudrie, was arrested today and charged with three counts of child neglect.

Scott says police first came in contact with the family last October when one of their children ran away and reported to a shelter employee that she’d been abused by her father. In January, the girl — who had returned to her family — ran away again and told shelter workers she’d been sexually abused.

Kijua Beaudrie

“Our detectives discovered some evidence that led to an immediate removal of all the kids from the mother and father,” Scott said. “Those kids are now at foster homes and shelters here in central Iowa.”

The Beaudries and their nine children, who range in age between a few months old to 16, had been living in a store at Merle Hay Mall and occasionally staying in a hotel. James Beaudrie ran a toy and game shop in the mall. He is wanted on eight counts of third-degree sexual abuse.