LAKEVILLE, Mass. (WPRI) — Two children who police said were kidnapped by their mother on Sunday have been located, according to police officials.
Lakeville police posted on Facebook Monday they were searching for 7-year-old Eden and 5-year-old Steven after they were reported missing by their father, Steve Carrigan, who has sole custody of the children.
Officers responded to Carrigan’s home Sunday night and he told police that their mother, Valerie McGrath, took the two children with his permission at about 1:30 p.m. and was to return them by 5 p.m., but she never showed.
Carrigan said the children were with their mother to celebrate Steven’s birthday.
Police said they were concerned for the safety of the children due to the actions and statements made by McGrath in the last few weeks. They obtained an arrest warrant for McGrath Monday on a charge of kidnapping by a relative.
McGrath, 47, was last seen driving a brown or tan Land Rover Discovery with Massachusetts license plate 847ZZ2, according to police.
In an update on their Facebook page Monday evening, Lakeville police said McGrath and two children had been observed in Swansea around 3:30 p.m.
At approximately 5 p.m., police located her vehicle in a field off of Sharps Lot Road. According to officials, an investigation by Swansea police revealed that McGrath had rented another vehicle in Fall River.
Massachusetts State Police troopers later spotted McGrath and the children in a McDonald’s drive-thru on Route 138 in Raynham in the rented vehicle. According to Lakeville police, the children were both in good health and were checked out by EMS personnel before being released to the custody of their father.
“It’s just an overwhelming feeling that they’re safe and back with me,” Carrigan said. “She (McGrath) likes to ski so she could have went north and she likes the beach so she could have went south.”
Carrigan said he was surprised to learn that McGrath didn’t make it to another state with the children.
“I’m very glad that it wasn’t another state, far away, or anything like that,” he said. “I’m just so glad that it’s down the street. Now we can just go home and enjoy the rest of the night.”
McGrath was placed under arrest and was taken to the Lakeville Police Department headquarters. According to police, she is being held on $10,000 cash bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Wareham District Court.
“That was the only one thing that was keeping me strong that I was talking to people, the news people, and stuff, thinking that she still loves her kids,” Carrigan said. “She wasn’t going to do something – I was praying she wasn’t going to do something to harm them.”
According to Lakeville police, more than 170,000 people saw the missing child information on their Facebook page – and that led to locating the children.