Rhode Island's attorney general yesterday dropped a 1988 child abduction charges against Liana Waldberg, formerly known as Elaine Yates, accused of taking her two daughters from her ex-husband and disappearing for almost three decades, according to a published report.
The office of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said it dismissed the charge after "reviewing evidence that was not available or unknown to investigators" before the discovery of Liana Waldberg, 69, who went by the name Elaine Yates before fleeing the state 30 years ago.
Rhode Island and Texas police on January 16 arrested Yates, who had been living under a different name, Leina Waldberg, and she was charged with child snatching in Rhode Island.
Attorneys for Elaine Yates, Bethany Macktaz and Lisa Holley on Wednesday applauded the dismissal and said she fled at a time when there were few legal options.
That's the year a warrant was issued against Yates for felony child snatching, but she disappeared with her daughters, who were 3 ½ years and 10 months old at the time, in 1985.
Waldberg was arrested last week after she was located in Texas.
Police found Waldberg and her two daughters, now in their 30s, in Houston after they received an anonymous tip two days before Christmas.
Kilmartin's office said it dismissed the charge "in the interest of justice". The girls' father, Russell Yates, was told of her arrest immediately after it happened and is relieved, Philbin said. "She is respected. I hope she finds peace now".
The missing children case garnered global attention and was featured on "America's Most Wanted". As for the mother - whose assumed name, Leina, is almost an anagram for her given name, Elaine - Philbin said she had been successful in getting away with her crime for 31 years. "I just want to see my kids", he said. As of Tuesday, she was en route to Rhode Island, after waiving extradition and being arraigned in Houston, police said. It was the second time in less than a week that police in the USA announced they had solved an old child disappearance. Both women also have families of their own now. The 18-year-old, Kamiyah Mobley, met her biological parents Saturday in Walterboro, the SC city where she was raised under a false name.