FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Three Montana children who went missing in August will soon be reunited with their mother, one day after the U.S. Coast Guard found them aboard a boat about 30 miles off the South Florida coastline.
The children, 14-year-old Megan Bryant, 13-year-old Maxwell Bryant and 11-year-old Sebastian Bryant, were found Tuesday off Pompano Beach with their father who is accused of kidnapping them.
James Bryant made a quick appearance in Broward bond court Wednesday morning where Judge John Hurley ordered him to be held on $100,000 bond.
“Mr. Bryant, you’re wanted in the state of Montana for parental interference,” said Judge Hurley.
Bryant and the kids had been missing since August when they didn’t return to their mother in Belgrade, Montana.
Terry Colenso was one of the last people to see Bryant and the kids before they vanished.
“The whole thing has been quite shocking,” said Colenso.
Colenso works at the Palm Bay Marina in Miami. She said she remembers talking with the kids before they left. She said the kids told her Bryant had sold everything and bought a boat called the “Night Dragon.”
“He said we’re going to be sailing a boat as soon as my dad can figure out how do it and I said ‘Oh, he doesn’t know how’ and he said ‘Not really’,” said Colenso. “He said ‘We’re going to take a chance and go to Puerto Rico and if we make it, we are going to go to Hawaii because my grandma died and there’s a condo or something’.”
After Bryant and the kids left, a felony warrant was issued for his arrest for not returning the children to their mother.
On Tuesday, his sailboat was spotted about 30 miles off the coast of Pompano Beach by a Customs and Border Protection aircrew.
Officials from the Belgrade Police Department in Montana believe Bryant and the kids had been in the Bahamas for the past 7 months and only recently came to South Florida. Investigators believe they sailed back to South Florida to drip Bryant’s wife Angela off so she could fly to Hawaii.
When Angela Bryant was picked up by Hawaiian authorities she reportedly told them her husband and kids could be headed back to the Bahamas. It’s believed they were heading back when their boat was spotted before entering Bahamian waters.
“Someone saw a vessel matching that description, Custom Border Protection was able to spot that particular vessel with the name that was passed in the intelligence and we just went out based on the location and found them,” said Coast Guard Commander Paul Turner.
Turner said everyone just seemed like they were having fun on a vacation when they were taken into custody. Bryant will remain in the Broward County jail until an extradition court hearing likely to take place on Thursday.
The kids are currently in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. It’s not known whether their mother will fly to South Florida to pick them up or whether the kids be put on a plane and flown back home to her.