It was a case of a domestic dispute for one family in Rhode Island that led to a case which took over three decades to solve.
Rhode Island mother and wife Elaine Yates fled with their two daughters, then aged 10 months and 3 years old in 1985 without a word.
Her husband Russell Yates admitted that he hit his wife during their last row and he filed a missing person’s report telling police he and his wife were high school sweethearts.
But police failed to locate the mother and her two daughters until 31 years later when she was discovered living in an apartment in Houston, Texas.
The couple’s two daughters Kimberly and Kelly are grown up and have their own families in the Houston area.
When Elaine was found by Rhode Island and Texas police on Jan. 16 2017 she had been living under the name Leina Waldberg. She was arrested and charged with child snatching in Rhode Island.
The case attracted international attention with police posting computer generated images of what Elaine and her daughters would look like now.
But it wasn’t until they received an anonymous tip off did they discover her. According to Fox News Elaine’s mother even served time in jail for refusing to reveal her whereabouts.
Elaine, who claims she was in an abusive relationship with Russell, was brought back to Rhode Island and charged.
But the charges against her were later dropped; prosecutors said that in 1985 what Elaine did was not considered child snatching in Rhode Island, the law has since been changed.
Domestic violence also wasn’t a crime in 1985 in Rhode Island, according to the Providence Journal.
‘I just want to see my kids’
Dad Russell said the charges wouldn’t have helped anyone and he just wanted to see his daughters.
“I don’t think it’s going to help her, me or anybody else. I just want to see my kids,” he said, as per NBC News.
If only there had been more protection for those in abusive relationships back then. I believe Elaine felt she didn’t have a choice.
Hopefully the two daughters can reconnect with their father in some way and start building the bridges between them.
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