After hours of trailing a man they believed had kidnapped his two children from South San Francisco and preparing for the worst case scenario, the South San Francisco Police, in collaboration with the Coast Guard and FBI were able to take Christopher Maffei into custody Friday night.
His two children Brooklyn, 2, and Devin, 3, were given a clean bill of health by local Emergency Medical Services before being handed over to the custody of their mother, Jennifer Hipon.
After a three-day search, the authorities finally located the boat that was reported stolen from Alameda. Maffei, 43, asked to be taken off the boat and surrendered without resistance, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Rachel Polish.
Maffei, of South San Francisco, first disappeared Tuesday, reportedly taking his two children with him. The mother reported the children as missing that evening, saying Maffei took them and drove away with them in a rented car. The Coast Guard was first called on Wednesday, by South San Francisco Police, when the boat was reported as stolen.
After leaving with his children, Maffei traveled to the Ballena Isle Marina in Alameda and allegedly stole a yacht that he had previously expressed interest in buying, according to South San Francisco police officials.
The stolen yacht, a 41-foot sailboat named “Unleashed” was first spotted off Mare Island near Vallejo on Wednesday evening. At 4 a.m. on Friday, a fishing boat captain radioed the Coast Guard to report he had spotted Maffei and the stolen boat about 50 miles from the coastline.
“We made contact right by Big Sur and nobody was hurt,” South San Francisco Police spokesman Bruce McPhillips. As for the motive behind the kidnapping, McPhillips said that investigations are underway.
The children's mother filed for a restraining order against Maffei on Thursday, according to San Mateo County Superior Court records.
Maffei reportedly told friends and family he was interested in trying to sail to Thailand or Mexico, according to police accounts.