What must have been the most frightening month in one Georgia mother’s life is now over. The mother lost all four of her children after their father allegedly kidnapped them and took them to Mexico to stay with their maternal grandmother. While the children are back home and the father is on the run, this was very close to becoming an international child custody dispute.

The Henry Daily Herald says that the father took the children when the mother told him she wanted to break up. While it is unclear if the couple was married, the mother definitely told the Herald that the father had no custody over the children. Police said the father took the children on Sept. 12.

While it was nerve-racking for the mother to have her children gone, she was lucky that their father took them to her mother’s farm in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Because the father did not have custody of the children, however, taking them was considered to be kidnapping. Police and investigators from many different agencies worked together to find the children and the man.

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Diplomatic Security Services, U.S. Marshalls, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Once they found the children, they had to figure out how to bring the four American citizens back into the country with no paperwork or passports. Because they were technically kidnapped, however, the children were able to quickly cross the border and return to Georgia.

Although this story ended with all four children back in their mother’s arms, their father remains at-large. The mother does not believe the man will try to take the children again, but there is always the possibility that this could turn into a vicious custody battle.

Source: Henry Daily Herald, “‘Kidnapped’ Forest Park siblings return home,” Kathy Jefcoats, Oct. 14, 2011