MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Three South Florida brothers who were missing for nearly a week are back home with their father.
Erin Pena, Derick Pena and Steven Pena arrived in Miami just before 10:30 Sunday night.
When they saw their father, all three boys ran to him and wrapped their arms around him.
“It was incredible just seeing them. It was really awesome,” said Steven Pena, adding, “They look beautiful.”
Miami-Dade Schools Police officers and Chief Ian Moffett also greeted the boys at Miami International Airport.
“If somebody steps on our campus and takes one of our students, who I look at as one of my kids, we will stop at nothing to make sure our kids are brought home safe using every resource we have,” said Moffett.
On Friday, their father was granted sole custody after their mother took them out of the state. The mother is not allowed to see the children or go to their school.
“Give them a big hug and a big kiss,” said the children’s father Steven Pena, referring to what he would do when he saw them.
On Thursday, the children were found safe.
Their mother, Carrie Weingarth, and her boyfriend, Christian Coello, were placed in custody nearly a week after his children disappeared and Pena received the phone call he’d been hoping to get.
“They told me they have good news for me that they got her in custody and they were bringing my kids home,” said Pena. “I cried didn’t even know how to express it just it was very exciting news.”
Police said Weingarth tried to remove her son 12-year-old Erin Pena from Gulfstream Elementary without authorization.
The school denied her, but police said she sneaked back into the school and took Erin out of the cafeteria.
Then, police say Weingarth and Coello took Erin, and his two younger brothers, Derrick and Steven Pena out of the state.
Thursday, Police tracked them to California.
“It’s been devastating just not knowing where they were,” added Pena. “It’s just been driving me crazy, I wanted to know if they were safe and now I know, so I can’t wait until they come home.”
Weingarth’s family is also thankful the kids were found and they’re okay.
“They’re safe you have to thank God how everything’s alright,” said Lillian Weingarth, Carrie Weingarth’s grandmother.
Weingarth’s grandmother said she hasn’t talked to her granddaughter since she disappeared and can only guess why she left.
“She’s probably sorry that she did it, but she loved the kids and she was just tired of all the hassle. She was just plain tired of it all. She wanted to get out and get away,” said Lillian Weingarth.
Before the children disappeared, Pena said Erin lived with him, but the parents shared custody of the other two children.