SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) — Two children believed to be abducted by their father from South San Francisco were rescued Friday off the California coast after authorities spent most of the day tracking a stolen sailboat, the Coast Guard said.
The guard, FBI and police had been following a stolen sailboat named "Unleashed" that they believed was carrying the Christopher Maffei, his daughter and his son as it slowly sailed down the rugged central California coastline.
Authorities say the sailboat was spotted off the San Mateo County coast by a fisherman three days after police said the 43-year-old Maffei took his 3-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, and 2-year-old son, Devin, from their mother's home. Maffei is the former boyfriend and partner of the children's mother.
Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz said a guard airplane followed the boat south to Monterey Bay.
Authorities tracked down the boat off Monterey and removed the children. Maffei surrendered to the authorities.
The children's mother, Jennifer Hipon told reporters that she was at the courthouse filing custody documents on Tuesday, the day that Maffei went to her house and took the children from her elderly mother.
South San Francisco police have said that after running off with the children, Maffei drove them to a harbor in Alameda and left on the 40-foot sailboat.
Police said Maffei then sailed the boat out the Golden Gate, and headed south down the coast, starting a slow-speed chase as law enforcement tried to intercept the vessel.
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