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Sighting Reported of Yacht With Kidnapped Children

A commercial fisherman reported seeing a yacht that fit the description. Coast Guard was on its way this morning to the reported area.

Update 8:30 pm: The Coast Guard has reported that the agency, along with the FBI and SSF Police have rescued the two abducted children from the sailing vessel off Monterey Peninsula.

Update 7:45 pm: The Coast Guard has sent out a notification that, along with the South San Francisco Police Department, they are "actively tracking" the stolen sailboat, which is now in the waters off the Monterey Peninsula.

Assisting in the search are a HC-130 Hercules plane and crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, an HH-65 Dolphin and crew from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, Coast Guard Station Monterey, and two Coast Guard Cutter 87-foot coastal patrol boats, along with assets from SSF Police, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, the Monterey Police Department, the California Department of Fish and Game, as well as other local law enforcement agencies.

Update 6:20 pm: According to U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz, currently in Monterey, Coast Guard authorities are still tracking the vessel that Christopher Maffei and his two children are on.

In the past, Maffei had expressed an interest in sailing to both Monterey and Mexico.


According to the South San Francisco Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard aircraft left this morning to travel to 50 miles off Pillar Point, where a witness reported to have seen the yacht that is carrying two children abducted Tuesday.

Christopher Maffei, 43, the father of the two children is suspected to have taken them from South San Francisco and left in a white Ford Fusion before fleeing on a stolen yacht at Ballena Isle Marina in Alameda.

A commercial fisherman reported at 4 a.m. Friday that he saw a boat that matched the Coast Guard's description of the vessel. The fisherman had heard a public notice about the yacht on the boating emergency radio channel 16.

The fisherman reported seeing a small child on the vessel. He did not report any signs of distress, and left the vessel before contacting authorities.

According to SSF Police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips, there have been no witness reports of the yacht being under sail, and is likely either under power or adrift. McPhillips had no knowledge of Maffei's experience as a sailor, his motives or how much fuel was aboard the vessel.

The two children are Brooklynn, 3, and Devin, 2.

The vessel's name is "Unleashed" and "San Francisco, CA" is also painted on the stern.

Coast Guard duty officer Corinne Gaines said a C-130 aircraft from the agency has located the vessel and is monitoring it from the air until crews can get to the scene by boat.

"Based on how recent the siting was, there's a good chance it will come to resolution," McPhillips said.

See the attached PDF for more information on the case, as well as photographs of the children.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Brooklynn Maffei was 4, as stated on page 2 of the attached report, but she is 3.

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