An anonymous tip two days before Christmas led police officers to Kelly and Kimberly Yates, who went missing from their Rhode Island home in 1985.
It turns out that their mother Elaine Yates, 69, abducted her daughters after she caught their father with another woman. She took the girls and moved to Houston, Texas, where she has been living as Leina Waldberg. Kelly, 32, and Kimberly, 35, were not living with Yates when they were found, but were still in the Houston area with families of their own.
While authorities would not release the names the girls are now living under, they did notify their father Russell Yates once they were located and sent them his contact information. According to a story he told The Providence Journal in 1988, he became violent with his wife after she discovered he had been unfaithful, punching her in the forehead. A few days later, he came home from work to find her and their daughters gone.
“I’ve always been trying to find my children. Now at least, it’s up to them to get in touch with me,” Yates told reporters.
Their mother, who so far has been cooperative with investigators, is facing up to two counts of kidnapping and 20 years in jail, as she lost custody of her children after failing to show up to court to contest.
When asked if he thinks she should be prosecuted, Russell Yates said, “That isn’t going to help me, her or anybody else at this point. I just want to see my kids.”
In addition to the anonymous tip, authorities also used court databases, social media, driver’s license photos and baby photos to identify Kelly, Kimberly and Elaine Yates.