15. Domestic Dispute Gone Wrong

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Domestic disputes between couples can sometimes turn really ugly, especially when there are children involved. The desire to protect one’s child can sometimes lead to irrational decisions that can result in prolonged custody battles and even worse complete loss of custody. You just can’t imagine some of the extreme lengths parents will go through in an effort to protect their children. One family’s dispute in Rhode Island has left police completely baffled. Just wait until you see what happened over 30 years ago.

14. The Picture Perfect Family

Image: Providence Journal

To their friends, Elaine and Russell Yates were the perfect loving couple. However behind closed doors, their marriage was quickly falling apart. Russell watched as his two little girls, Kelly (3) and Kimberly (1) were affected by the turmoil in the home, but couldn’t figure out a way to put his marriage back together, even for their sake.

13. The Cheating Scandal

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The truth behind their failing marriage placed the blame solely on Russell who had been caught by Elaine cheating with another woman on their personal boat. Distraught and filled with rage, Elaine confronted Russell about the infidelity. This led to an altercation that resulted in Elaine being hit, as well as cut with a diamond ring. To say Elaine had had enough was an understatement, but it’s what she did next that will really leave you shocked.

12. Enough is Enough

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Tired of the fighting and the domestic abuse, Elaine made the decision to leave Russell. Packing up her things, as well as their two daughters, she fled their home. Russell would return home from work to find them gone, completely shocked that she would take their children without his consent.

11. S.O.S.

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Russell immediately reached out to the local police on August 26, 1985. Not only was he unsure of what Elaine could be capable of, but he knew the longer his daughters were gone, the less likely he would ever see them again. While Russell could admit he was a horrible husband, he was a good father and he wanted his daughters back by any means necessary.

10. The Case Goes Nowhere

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The police declared both of Russell’s daughter missing, but they weren’t in any hurry to find them. According to Russell, he felt like he wasn’t a priority and he wanted the investigation to move quicker. His wife was very disturbed and the longer his daughters were with her, the more danger they were in.

9. Time Passes

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The local police helped Russell search all of Rhode Island for Elaine and his daughters, but there were no signs of them anywhere. It seemed they had completely vanished. As weeks turned to months and months turned to years, Russell began to lose all hope that he would ever see them again.

8. Full Custody Granted

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After three years of failed searches, Russell still refused to give up on his daughters. This would ultimately pay off in 1988 when the court system awarded him full custody. Even though they were still missing, it meant Elaine had no more parental rights. Do you think he will ever find his precious girls?

7. Wanted for Kidnapping

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After months of turning up with nothing, the detectives on the case finally placed a felony warrant out for Elaine Yates. She was charged officially with kidnapping, but the problem was no one could figure out where she could be. Some believed she could have fled to Florida, although there was no evidence to back up such a move.

6. Years of Dead Ends

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As the years passed, the police received multiple tips on the girls and their whereabouts; however, none of them panned out. Regardless, Russell held onto hope that he would once again see his daughters one day. However, it would be 30 years later when detectives would finally receive concret Intel on the whereabouts of his ex-wife Elaine.

5. The Case of Leina Waldberg

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According to detectives, they had tracked down a woman by the name of Leina Waldberg. Living in Houston, Texas, she was a perfect match for Elaine Yates.  Not only was she the same age, but she had two daughters who matched the descriptions of Kelly and Kimberly. Could it be possible they finally found her?

4. Denial

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When taken in for questioning, Elaine refused to admit to her crimes or her identity. She also resisted giving any information regarding her daughters’ whereabouts. Thankfully, detectives were able to find them and provide them with their father’s phone number. According to Russell, he was absolutely ecstatic. Now it was up to his daughters to make the next move.

3. A Stranger from the Past

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The problem with reconnecting with their father stemmed from the fact he was from a life they never knew. Not only did they have new identities and families of their own, but they had no recollection of Russell or Rhode Island. One surprising revelation was that Russell didn’t want his ex-wife charged. He believed dragging her into a legal battle would only widen the separation from his kids.

2. Cooperating with Authorities

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Elaine made sure to cooperate with the investigators and was extradited back to Rhode Island. Unfortunately, she was facing up to 20 years in prison. Thankfully, due to Russell’s pleas, her sentence was reduced drastically. But would it get him closer to his daughters?

1. A Hope for the Future

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In 2017, a judge dismissed Elaine’s kidnapping charge due to lack of substantial evidence. However, the case did help change the laws in Rhode Island in terms of child snatching. As for Russell, he still waits by the phone hopeful his daughters will one day reach out to him. After 30 years, he finally knew the truth. He only wished he would have time to catch up with them. Hopefully this broken family can be mended one day.

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