U.S. Coast Guard finds three missing children on father James Ray Bryant's sailboat

Three Montana children, missing since August, were found aboard their father's sailboat approximately 30 miles east of Pompano Beach on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The children's father, James Ray Bryant, 44, had been wanted on a felony warrant for failing to return the children to their mother in Belgrade, Mont., on Aug. 17, according to court documents.

The children are identified as Megan Alyssa Bryant, 14; Maxwell Reed Bryant, 13; and Sebastian Evan Bryant, 11, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website.

They were visiting their father in Florida during summer vacation but were never returned home, prompting the felony warrant for parenting interference, according to court records.

Montana authorities and the FBI tried to contact the children via their cellphones. Records revealed Sebastian Bryant made a call from West Palm Beach to a friend in Billings, Mont., expressing excitement about flying home Aug. 17. No calls were made from any of their cellphones after that, investigators said.

Miami police had checked local marinas but were told the Night Dragon had set sail in July and never returned, court records stated.

The crew of the 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Okracoke, along with a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale, intercepted the 40-foot sailboat that had been spotted by a Customs and Border Protection aircrew, the Coast Guard said.

James Ray Bryant was turned over to the Broward Sheriff's Office for extradition to authorities in Montana. The Broward Sheriff's Office is also working with Child Protective Services to reunite the children with their mother, according to the investigative report.

Also located aboard the sailboat were a dog, a cat, a snake, and a lizard. The Coast Guard was working with the Humane Society to take care of the animals.

"A suspected kidnapper has been apprehended without incident," said Capt. Chris Scraba, commander, Coast Guard Sector Miami. "A mother will have her three children safely returned to her unharmed."

James Ray Bryant is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine if convicted of parenting interference charges.


Comments