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Amber Alert Issued For Father Accused Of Abducting Children
UPDATED: 9:22 pm EST December 21, 2004

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- State police issued an Amber Alert for a father who they say abducted his three young children from state social workers Tuesday in Willimantic.

Police were looking for Jeffrey Yeaw, who was believed to be driving a 1994 gray Toyota extended cab pickup truck with the combination license plate 674-CWP. His wife is seeking a divorce and has accused him of abuse, according to court records.

"He's against any authority telling him what he should do or how he should raise the children," said Charles G. Karanian, an attorney for Yeaw's estranged wife, Rebekah. "Doctors, courts, he's against all that stuff."

State social workers took custody of the children -- ages 3, 4 and 5 -- this fall, Karanian said, after Yeaw refused to allow them to go to school or see doctors. He was allowed supervised visits with the children, Karanian said.

In September, Rebekah Yeaw filed for divorce. At a court hearing Monday, a judge admonished Jeffrey Yeaw for not filing financial affidavits and other paperwork on time, Karanian said.

"He told a judge, 'There's no sense in me doing anything. I'm going to lose my parental rights anyway,"' Karanian said.

On Tuesday, police said he abducted the children, Ezekiel, Jesseniah and Rhienna, from Willimantic.

All three children have blond hair and blue eyes, police said.

"The father drove up and snatched the three of them and threw them in the cab of his truck," said Col. Edward Lynch, the head of the state police.

The two girls and a boy are under the age of 5, Willimantic police Lt. Mary Beth Curtis said.

The abduction happened late Tuesday afternoon, police said.

(left to right) Jessenia Autumn, Ezekiel Adam, Rhienna Summer

People who saw the truck or had information about Yeaw were asked to call 911 and to not approach him.

Jeffrey Yeaw has other children from a previous marriage, which also ended in divorce, said Karanian, who also represented Yeaw's first wife. His first wife is living in Massachusetts and does not receive child support, Karanian said.

"He's self-employed, a design architect. He used to use the word architect but he had no college," Karanian said. "He wasn't making any money."

Gary Kleeblatt, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families, said little information would be released because of confidentiality laws. But he said the agency would assist investigators.

"We can provide some help, as to where someone has connections, where they have relatives," Kleeblatt said. "We'll share whatever information we have with the police to try to obtain the safe return of the kids."

Karanian said he has no idea where Yeaw might take the children, though he said the woods comes to mind. Yeaw enjoyed living in his cabin and told his family to get used to the lifestyle, Karanian said.

Though he doesn't think Yeaw would try to hurt the children, Karanian said Yeaw's lifestyle puts the children at risk.

When Amber Alerts are activated, information about missing children is sent to cable systems and television and radio broadcasters.

It is also printed on lottery tickets and on highway traffic signs.

The alert system originated in Texas in 1996. It is named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and killed near her Texas home.
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