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US-USA-CRIME-YACHT:California waters searched for yacht with snatched toddlers
By Matthew Berger
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. authorities searched the waters off California's northern coast on Friday for a man suspected of kidnapping his two young children and fleeing aboard a stolen yacht, the Coast Guard said.
Christopher Maffei, 43, is accused of abducting his son and daughter on Tuesday afternoon from their mother's home in South San Francisco, according to a police report.
Authorities believe he then drove his 3-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 2-year-old son Devin across the San Francisco Bay to a marina in Alameda, where he stole a 40-foot (12.2 metre) yacht and set sail.
The boat, named "Unleashed," was later spotted off the coast of Vallejo, about 40 miles north of Alameda.
On Friday morning, another boater spotted the yacht about 50 miles off the coast south of San Francisco. Coast Guard and police boats were en route to intercept the yacht while a Coast Guard aircraft watched from overhead, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
A Coast Guard spokesman declined to comment on the progress of that hunt, but said the search was ongoing.
"We're actively searching in conjunction with local law enforcement," said Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie.
(Editing By Cynthia Johnston)