Sisters reported missing from Rhode Island 31 years ago found alive in Houston, mother arrested

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HOUSTON — Two sisters, who were reported missing from Rhode Island more than three decades ago, were found alive in Houston on Monday. Kelly Yates and her sister, Kimberly Yates, were allegedly abducted by their non-custodial mother in 1985.

Mugshot of Elaine Yates after her arrest in January 2017.

Mugshot of Elaine Yates after her arrest in January 2017.

Their father, Russell Yates, filed a missing persons report for the girls on Aug. 26, 1985. Their mother, Elaine Carolyn Yates, was later charged with two counts of child snatching. The girls were 3 years old and 10 months old at the time.

Authorities believe Elaine Yates left the home with her daughters after having a domestic dispute with their dad.

In December 2016, members of the Rhode Island State Police received information on the possible whereabouts of the mother and children. With the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Elaine Yates, who was living under the alias of Leina L. Waldberg, was found living in Houston.

Yates was taken into custody Monday without incident and brought to the Harris County Jail.

After confirming her true identity, the mother, who is now 69 years old, was charged. She waived extradition and is currently being transported back to Rhode Island, where a formal arraignment will be held.

[Age progression photos provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]

Kelly, now 32, and Kimberly, 35, both use different names and were not living with their mother, their father told the Providence Journal.  Both women also have families of their own now.

"I always hoped this day would happen," Yates told the paper, "and now I hope they [his daughters] will want to get in touch with me."