Dustin Duren Kidnapping Case: Vaelyn Duren & Elowyn Duren Found?

02 Mar, 2024 Last Update 1 month ago

A 37-year-old Berlin, New Hampshire resident named Dustin Duren is charged with kidnapping his two daughters and murdering their mother on February 28, 2024. After his car was seen by a witness and an Amber Alert was sent, he was taken into custody in Keene, New Hampshire the following day.

He is accused of kidnapping, second-degree murder, and possibly even using a handgun. Court documents indicate that he has a history of substance misuse, domestic violence, and mental health difficulties. His wife, Caitlyn Naffziger, had filed for a restraining order against him in January 2024, and they were currently going through a divorce.  Last week, a father in New Hampshire allegedly abducted his two young daughters and murdered their mother, setting off a startling and terrible chain of events.

What happened?

Police were called to an apartment on Thursday night, February 28, 2024. When they arrived, they discovered the death of Caitlyn Naffziger, 31, who had been shot in the head. Elowyn Duren, 4, and Vaelyn Duren, 13, months, were the two girls she was the mother of, and they were both missing from the scene.

For the two children, who were thought to have been taken by their 37-year-old father Dustin Mark Duren, police issued an Amber Alert. He was last observed driving a white 2017 Subaru Impreza with a veteran's plate from New Hampshire. He was thought to be armed and dangerous.

A significant search operation including numerous law enforcement agencies, media outlets, and concerned individuals was initiated in response to the Amber Alert. Although the police got multiple reports and sightings of the vehicle, none of them resulted in the children's recovery or the suspect's arrest.

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Vaelyn Duren & Elowyn Duren Found? 

Vaelyn Duren & Elowyn Duren Found?

A breakthrough occurred on Friday morning, March 1, 2024, when a witness saw the Subaru Impreza near Keene, about 100 miles south of Berlin, in the parking lot of an Applebee's restaurant. After calling 911, the witness said they knew the vehicle from the Amber Alert.

Dustin Duren and his two girls were inside the car when the police came to the scene and encircled it. Duren obeyed their orders to exit the vehicle and turn himself up, and he did so without incident. Following his arrest, he was accused of second-degree murder in relation to Naffziger's demise.

After being securely retrieved, medical professionals examined the two girls. Police reported that they looked to be in fair condition and undamaged. Their maternal grandparents, who had been nervously awaiting word of their location, were finally reunited with them.

Dustin Duren Case


Dustin Mark Duren


37 years old


Berlin, New Hampshire




Second-degree murder, kidnapping, possible firearm offenses


February 28 – March 1, 2024


Berlin and Keene, New Hampshire


Elowyn Duren, 4, and Vaelyn Duren, 13 months


Dustin Mark Duren, 37, their father


The children were found safe, the suspect was arrested, and the mother was killed

What is the motive?

Since the authorities are still looking into the incident, it is still unknown why the kidnapping and murder occurred. But some information has surfaced that points to a tumultuous past involving domestic abuse and Duren and Naffziger.

Duren and Naffziger were wed in 2019 but divorced in 2023, based on court documents. They were finalizing their divorce, which they had filed for in December 2023. Duren would see their two girls every other weekend as part of their shared parenting arrangement.

What is the reaction?

In Berlin, where Naffziger and her kids resided, the Dustin Duren abduction case has stunned and grieved the locals. Friends, family, and neighbors have expressed their relief and happiness at the children's safe return as well as their anguish and incredulity over the senseless crime.

On Friday night, the apartment building where Naffziger was killed had a candlelight memorial in her memory and in solidarity of her family. To show their respect, many brought cards, balloons, flowers, and cuddly animals.

A GoFundMe campaign has been established to assist the family with additional needs including funeral costs. By Saturday, March 2, 2024, over 400 donors had contributed over $20,000 to the page. In addition, the page has prayers and condolences from others who knew Naffziger or were impacted by her story.

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What is the next step?

In the Cheshire County jail, Dustin Duren is being detained without being allowed to leave until his arraignment on Monday, March 4, 2024. If found guilty of second-degree murder, he may get a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release. In addition, he can be charged with other crimes about kidnapping and the use of a gun.

The two youngsters are under the legal guardianship of their maternal grandparents, who are in charge of them. To assist them in overcoming the trauma and loss they have endured, they are getting care and therapy. Their friends and extended family are also there to support and adore them.

Police are continuing gathering, examining, and questioning witnesses and Naffziger and Duren's associates as part of their ongoing investigation. Additionally, they collaborate with the Attorney General's Office of New Hampshire, which is in charge of the case's prosecution.

We will update this story as additional information becomes available because it is still developing. Follow along for the most recent information on Dustin Duren's abduction case.