NEWTON, N.J. (AP) — Two New Jersey boys at the center of a custody dispute have been found unharmed in Florida with their father along with a fugitive wanted in Tennessee on sex charges, investigators say.
The monthlong search for the 8- and 7-year-old boys ended at the Royal Palm Inn in New Port Richey, Florida, late Wednesday night, Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch said. The children were safe and were placed with child protection investigators, Koch said.
The boys' father, Kristopher Dohm, was arrested on charges of interference with custody and unlawful flight.
Dohm's friend, Edward Tarras Jr., who faces nearly two dozen sex-related charges in Tennessee, including sexual exploitation of a minor, was also arrested after the joint investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement.
Tarras missed a court date in August and police in Tennessee said at the time that he cut off an ankle monitor and fled town, investigators said. He was then listed as one of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's most wanted fugitives.
He was tracked down after his cellphone was traced to Florida by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Marshals service, according to Sgt. Bobby Gibson with the Smyrna police department in Tennessee. He said the two were friends from growing up together in New Jersey.
Prosecutors previously said Tarras had lured teen girls through an Internet ad seeking models to photograph.
Tarras was appointed a public defender Thursday and was ordered held without bond in his first court appearance. A message was left with the public defender's office. Dohm's first appearance in court was set for Friday. It wasn't clear if Dohm had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Both men were jailed at the Pasco County Central Detention Center. Dohm also was being held without bond.
Dohm's sons were reported missing by their mother Feb. 9, after she said they weren't returned home by their father in violation of a custody agreement.
"My boys have been found and they are safe! I got the news just after midnight and am heading to Florida now to be reunited with them!" Sandra Hughes Dohm posted on her Facebook page Thursday morning.