We never stop searching: Agency reacts to closure of 1985 kidnapping case

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — On Tuesday, authorities announced that two sisters who were reported missing from Warwick have been located after more than three decades.

Police said Elaine Yates was taken into custody, accused of abducting her two daughters – whom she did not have custody of – in August 1985.

The case of Kimberly and Kelly Yates was one of the first investigated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which opened its doors the previous year.

“We never stop searching,” said spokesperson Angeline Hartmann in an interview with Eyewitness News.

From creating an age progression of the two girls, assigning a case manager to law enforcement and the family, and offering support before and after the case, Hartmann said the agency has been involved every step of the way.

“This case was solved because of a tipster,” she explained. “What that means is there was someone out there who knew something and made the right call.”

Age progression photos of Kelly, Kimberly, and Elaine Yates. Read their story »
Age progression photos of Kelly, Kimberly, and Elaine Yates. Read their story »

Hartmann said that same call can be made in hundreds of active cases.

In 2016, the center assisted with more than 20,000 cases of missing children. The only children listed with the center out of Rhode Island were the Yates sisters.

“This case is as old as the center is, practically,” Hartmann added. “We are definitely all rejoicing here and just so happy to hear that they’ve finally been found and they are all doing okay.”

When a case like this one is solved, Hartmann said the center gets calls from other families who are still searching. That’s why, according to her, the center never gives up on a case, regardless of how much time has passed.

Visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website for more information.