Two western Iowa children allegedly abducted their mother and her boyfriend are safe in protective custody today after being found Tuesday in Maine. According to the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department, eight-year old Rae Ann Meyer and 10-year old Cameron Meyer, of Oakland, were in a vehicle that was pulled over by the Maine State Police on Interstate 95, near Etna, Maine.
The children were reported to be in good health. Lieutenant Tim Thompson, with the Pottawatamie County Sheriff’s Department, says they spent most of day Tuesday trying to track down the couple and the children. He says they had a lot of help from agencies in Maine, the U.S. Marshals, F-B-I and media.
The children were taken Monday morning at a park in Oakland, where they were spending time with a babysitter. Their father, Jeffrey Meyer, of Oakland, was at work when the incident occurred. The baby sitter left a message with him, but Meyer didn’t get the word until later that day. After convincing the babysitter to let the children come with her, the mother, 30-year old Brandi Harris and her boyfriend, 35-year old Vince Hatch, both of Orrington, Maine, took off for Maine.
Thompson says authorities in western Iowa have not had an opportunity to speak with Harris, who he says has tried to obtain custody of the children several times. Thompson says he’s read some of the court orders and there were several hearings over the past couple of years. He says each time the judge ordered custody to the father and the mom wasn’t able to accept that.
"She followed him here from Maine and grabbed the kids, and the way she went about it was deceitful and deceptive, and probably why she lost custody in the first place," Thompson says. Now that they are in protective custody, Thompson says the children’s father and his family are making arrangements to bring them back home to Iowa.