A woman from Eliot who fled to Canada with her two children in October amid a contentious divorce was arrested in Quebec on Sunday and awaits deportation to face two felony charges for taking the children, police said.

Sarah Teske, 39, faces two counts of criminal restraint by a parent, Eliot police Sgt. Ron Lund said Thursday. Each charge is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The children, ages 7 and 4, were temporarily placed with a Canadian foster family until their father could go to Canada to take custody of them, his attorney said.

Sarah Teske had been on the run for 38 days. She now awaits deportation through the Canadian immigration process, police said.

Teske’s capture abroad ends a saga of more than two years that involved police, the courts and social workers from the Department of Health and Human Services, who fielded multiple false reports of abuse and domestic violence from Sarah Teske against her ex-husband, according to court records.

Through the process, Sarah Teske filed false affidavits to obtain three emergency protection from abuse orders against her husband, Tegan Teske, 38, according to court records. All three protection orders were denied during hearings; in some cases, Sarah Teske retracted the allegations or lobbied against the orders herself.

“Sarah has abused the system for her agenda,” Tegan Teske wrote in an court affidavit dated Nov. 18, when his children had been missing for 19 days. “She had engaged in unethical and illegal behavior. … Sarah has a history of acting irrationally and unstably. Sarah’s behavior continues to escalate. She has legally lost a great deal and is facing serious consequences. This is a volatile situation. I nervously hope that the authorities are able to recover the children soon.”

Tegan Teske brought the children home this week, and plans to get them into treatment and therapy for the turmoil they experienced, said his attorney, Matthew Howell.

“With each passing allegation or complaint she switched (her tactics) up and got a little more savvy, and found more ways to manipulate the system,” Howell said. “Luckily, we were able to keep battling them, and with the assistance of Eliot police, (the officers) were able to see through her scheme pretty quickly.”

The United States and Canada are signatories of a 1980 international treaty that provides a process for citizens of one country to lobby for the return of children who are abducted and brought to another country. Howell filed an application with the U.S. State Department outlining the circumstances of the alleged abduction, which was relayed to Canadian authorities, and helped police in Quebec act swiftly when they learned where Sarah Teske was staying, Howell said.

When Sarah Teske returns the United States and is arrested by local police, she will be held on $10,000 cash bail with conditions that she not contact her children or ex-husband and she not possess firearms, Lund said.

An attorney representing Sarah Teske, Whitney Hayre, provided a brief statement following his client’s apprehension.

“All that I can say is that I know Ms. Teske is looking forward to returning to Maine and getting her side of the story out there,” Hayre wrote in an email statement.

Teske has been detained in Canada since she was arrested in Quebec early Sunday.

The couple’s divorce was finalized Nov. 15. A judge awarded Tegan Teske full custody of the boys, and cited Sarah Teske’s repeated false allegations and deceptions, as well as her recent defiance of a court order to return the children to the United States before the divorce was completed. Sarah Teske will have only supervised visits with her children in the near future.

Howell said Teske fled Maine and the country when she learned that Eliot police were planning to charge her with making a false report, a misdemeanor. Before she left, Sarah Teske allegedly withdrew $11,000 from shared accounts and pulled her sons out of school, leaving her cellphone behind.

Police later learned that Teske and the children crossed into Canada from Vermont on Oct. 31.

It was unclear where she stayed while in Quebec. Howell, Tegan Teske’s attorney, said police caught up with his ex-wife when she attempted to apply for a job with a Christmas tree vendor.

“The story she was giving the potential employer just didn’t check out,” Howell said. “It raised enough red flags and the person called police. These poor kids have really been through the wringer.”

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this story.


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