BOISE -- Before he left them alone on a cooling mountain in a remote part of Nevada's Eureka County, Joshua Dundon told his six- and seven-year-old daughters they were not safe.
Prosecutors say Dundon had been in the throes of methamphetamine-fueled paranoia for days, and believed he and his children were in danger from the government and others.
"The defendant told them that their mom was trying to kill them, that somebody burned down their house and poisoned their dog, and that police were coming to kill them," Prosecutor John Dinger said.
Hours later, after Dundon's capture, those delusions threatened to thwart the girls' rescue as deputies and searchers frantically combed the woods for the missing children.
Dundon's youngest daughter was so terrified of being shot, she did not want to call out for help even as the girls heard officers searching the woods around them, Dinger said.
"When police were actually near them yelling, the other daughter was scared and didn’t want to respond and get help, but this older sister did and luckily they were found," he said.
The new details emerged Friday morning during a bond reduction hearing for the 29-year-old Dundon. He was charged with two felony counts of custodial interference after he picked his daughters up mid-morning from their elementary school and disappeared May 10, sparking an AMBER Alert.
Dundon's attorney, Gary Davis, noted his client's supportive family and argued a $5 million bond was far too high.
"Every defendant is entitled to a reasonable bond, and I don’t think $5 million is reasonable in this case," he said.
Dinger disagreed, arguing that Dundon posed an "extreme risk."
"He’s a danger to himself, he’s a danger to his children,and he’s also a very serious danger to the community at large," he said.
According to the prosecutor, Dundon's behavior had already begun to worry those who knew him. He began carrying a gun, and told his brother several times he was ready to "blast a cop" if he saw one, according to the prosecutor. The night before he went on the run with the girls, Dinger said Dundon's own parents were so alarmed by his paranoia that they came to his house to get the children.
But the bizarre behavior only escalated.
"Before he took the children and fled, he trashed his home by nailing the doors and closets shut," Dinger said. "There were holes in the walls, as if he was looking for something, and it appears that he booby trapped the home before he left. When people went in, there was gas being leaked into the house."
Dundon drove the girls to Nevada, where he set his pickup truck on fire in rural Eureka County. Dundon and the girls walked into the woods, bringing guns and weapons, but no food or supplies.
Dundon was captured days later when he walked up to a ranch house for help. His daughters were found hours later - hungry, bruised and frostbitten - after a frantic search through the mountains.
"The officers that found them, your Honor, immediately began taking off their own clothing to wrap these girls to give them some warmth, as they appeared hypothermic," Dinger told Judge Michael Oths.
The rescuers determined the sisters couldn't wait for medical personnel to arrive, and carried both girls down the mountain. They were taken to a hospital for treatment, and have been reunited with their mother in Boise.
Dundon - who had split custody of his daughters with their mother - was jailed in Reno before being extradited back to Idaho to face charges.
Oths sided with prosecutors Friday, refusing to lower Dundon's $5 million bond. He's due back in court July 24 for a preliminary hearing.
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