CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The father of two New Hampshire children whose disappearance has led to a cross-country search has been indicted on charges of murdering the youngsters, though the bodies have not been found.

The indictment, handed up Friday and announced on Monday, charges that Manuel Gehring, 44, shot his children to death in New Hampshire. Authorities have refused to say how they know that.

Gehring and the children, Sarah, 14, and Philip, 11, were last seen in Concord on July 4. He was arrested without them July 10 in Gilroy, Calif. He left California under police and FBI escort last week and was expected to return to New Hampshire on Tuesday. Gehring had been in a custody battle with his ex-wife. Authorities said he did not return the children to her July 6, as agreed.

Investigators searching for the bodies have focused on the route he drove to California. Police and prosecutors have declined to say whether Gehring has cooperated in the search, which has covered several Midwestern states.

“We don’t have a specific location,” said Jeff Strelzin, a prosecutor in New Hampshire.

Gehring’s ex-wife, Teresa Knight, said in court papers July 7 that he had told her in a “very agitated and angry” call that he had no intention of abiding by a new custody agreement.

Authorities said Gehring left after arguing with his daughter at a Fourth of July fireworks show in Concord. According to prosecutors and court records, both children were crying as they walked to his car. His trip was traced across the country, mainly on Interstate 80.

, using credit card receipts. Authorities from Pennsylvania to California helped in the investigation.

Gehring’s neighbor and close friend Linda DeSantis, whose children both played with Philip, said she is struggling to understand why Gehring might have killed his children.

“I just wish he would say something to somebody about where they are, so they can be brought home properly,” she said.

AP-ES-07-21-03 1652EDT

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