updated 7/7/2008 2:08:41 PM ET 2008-07-07T18:08:41

A desperate five-day search for a 9-year-old boy allegedly abducted by his father in Southern California ended in Mexico, where the man died in a car crash and the boy was found safe in a church, authorities said Monday.

Ryan Ramos was found alone Sunday in a Mormon church in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and was expected home in Orange County on Monday, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said. He had been missing since Wednesday, when his father, Lonnie Ramos, allegedly shot his estranged wife in the face during a custody exchange and took off with their child, authorities said.

On Monday, authorities announced that Lonnie Ramos, 46, had been killed in a car accident in Juarez, Amormino said. He did not have any other details.

The boy was in El Paso, Texas, across the border from Juarez, awaiting a private flight to Southern California, Amormino said.

Gynnae Ramos, the boy's mother, was in good condition at Mission Hospital, Orange County sheriff's Lt. Kurt Vasentine said. She filed for divorce in 2003 and had been locked in a divorce and custody battle with Lonnie Ramos, court records indicated.

After the shooting Wednesday, a statewide Amber Alert was issued for two cars that Lonnie Ramos might have been driving. A motor home was added after someone reported renting it to the fugitive.

Authorities then got a tip the father and son had been spotted crossing the border by foot near Andrade, about 160 miles east of San Diego. The motor home rented by Ramos was found in the area Saturday.

Ramos apparently tried to buy plane tickets for himself and his son at John Wayne Airport on Wednesday night but was unable to do so because he refused to show any identification or provide his name, Amormino said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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