Twin sisters from Massachusetts were reunited with their father early Thursday morning after authorities say they were snatched away from their school bus stop by their mother and her boyfriend on Wednesday afternoon.
Nine-year-olds Je t'aime and Dasia Valentine of Plymouth were reunited with their father, Richard Valentine, who said he could not find them at their meeting spot after school.
"I was scared," Valentine said. "They weren't where I normally pick them up from."
Valentine normally picks the girls up from a supermarket after they get off the bus. But this time, police said, surveillance footage showed a man putting them in a car.
After a search, the fourth graders were located in Lewiston, Maine with their 35-year-old mother, Chereese Ford, and her 38-year-old boyfriend, Craig Beaudoin.
Police said Ford hasn't seen her children for at least five years and does not have custody of them. Police suspect the couple had been planning on taking them.
"There was some type of preparation and I think they just took advantage of the opportunity that the children were picked up right away," said Plymouth Police Chief Michael Boteri.
Valentine said he plans to make sure something like this never happens again.
"I know that my children were sitting there scared," Valentine said. "I'm going to make sure that I take all proper precautions to make sure something like this never happens again."
Both Ford and Beaudoin faced a judge in Maine Thursday afternoon. Although Beaudoin waived extradition to Massachusetts, Ford's attorney said she was within her rights to take the children from Plymouth.
They will then be taken back to Massachusetts to answer to kidnapping and other related charges. Police say they could also face federal charges, since they crossed state lines.
Ford was indicted earlier this year on welfare fraud charges after she allegedly claimed her children were living with her to receive benefits.