Missing Montana children found on dad's boat off Florida

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2012 10:23 PM
Missing Montana children found on dad's boat off Florida

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Coast Guard team recovered three missing Montana children from their father's sailboat off the Florida coast on Tuesday and took the dad into custody on charges of interfering with parental custody.

The Coast Guard described the case as a suspected kidnapping. A felony arrest warrant was issued for the father, 44-year-old James Bryant, in August when he failed to return the children to their mother in Bozeman, Montana.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website said alerts had been issued advising that he may have taken the children - 14-year-old Megan, 13-year-old Maxwell and 11-year-old Sebastian Bryant - to Puerto Rico, the Bahamas or Florida.

An air crew with the Customs and Border Protection Agency spotted Bryant's boat in the Atlantic Ocean about 30 miles east of Pompano Beach, Florida, on Tuesday afternoon and alerted the Coast Guard, Petty Officer Nick Ameen said.

A Coast Guard team intercepted and boarded the sailboat, arrested Bryant without incident, and brought him and the children ashore.

"They were all fairly calm and collected during the whole ordeal," Ameen said.

Bryant was turned over to the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Fort Lauderdale to await extradition to Montana.

Deputies were working with Florida's Child Protective Services to reunite the children with their mother, the Coast Guard said.

Also aboard the boat were a dog, a cat, a snake and a lizard, and the Coast Guard said it was working with the Humane Society to care for the pets.

(The story was corrected to fix typo in Humane Society name in final paragraph)

(Reporting By Jane Sutton; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)