RISP: Arrest made, 2 missing children located in 1985 child snatching case

Rhode Island State Police say two children reported missing in 1985 have been located in the Houston area and their mother has been charged with snatching them.

An anonymous tip two days before Christmas led police to Kimberly and Kelly Yates and their 69-year-old mother, Elaine, said Rhode Island State Police Lt. Col. Joseph Philbin.

Their father, Russell Yates, filed a missing persons report for the girls on August 26, 1985.

Authorities believe Elaine Yates left the home with her daughters after having a domestic dispute with their dad.

She is now facing two counts of child snatching and is facing a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Kelly was 10 months old at the time she went missing.

The mystery of Kimberly and Kelly Yates has finally been solved after the two sisters were found living under new identities in Houston, Texas.


"I always hoped this day would happen", Russell Yates told the Providence Journal.

Yates says his message to his daughters, that they have a father who loves them and want to see them.

Their father, who had been granted custody, was "relieved" to learn they had been located, officials said.

They had been living in Rhode Island, US at the time, and their mother lived under the alias Liana Waldberg. "I've been searching for them for 30 years".

Elaine Yates was being taken back to Rhode Island, where she will face arraignment Wednesday in Kent Superior Court in Warwick.

Philbin would not comment on where the family had been since 1985 and said he did not know when they got to Houston.


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