DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Two Iowa children were found unharmed Tuesday after their mother and boyfriend allegedly abducted them from their father the night before and drove to Maine, authorities said.

Brandi Harris, the children’s noncustodial mother, and Vince Hatch were arrested in Etna, Maine, after a state trooper pulled their vehicle over and found the children inside, said Pottawattamie County sheriff’s officials. Harris, 30, and Hatch, 35, are accused of violating a custodial order, a Class D felony.

The children – Rae Ann Meyer, 8, and Cameron A. Meyer, 10 – were put into protective custody until they can be returned to their father in Oakland, a town in southwest Iowa, officials said.

A nationwide search for the children began late Monday when authorities issued an Amber Alert, claiming the couple had abducted the children. Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Thompson said the children were with their baby sitter at a park on Monday when they were taken.

“(The children) had been left with the baby sitter and their dad had gone to work,” Thompson said. “Then the biological mother showed up and the baby sitter figured the kids were going to be OK with mom. The baby sitter let them go.”

Officials believed the couple were driving the children to their home in Orrington, Maine, and alerted authorities there of the situation.

Jim Saunders, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said the investigation determined Hatch had a history for assaulting at least one of the children.

Both children were in good health Tuesday, officials said.

Attempts to reach the children’s father Tuesday evening were unsuccessful.

AP-ES-08-14-07 2028EDT


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