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Fresno Father Reunited With His 2 Missing Children in Texas

From Times Wire Services

A Fresno doctor and his two missing children were reunited Saturday after a Texas judge took them away from their mother, who had abducted them nearly two years earlier.

After a marathon court hearing that ended early Saturday, Cooke County District Judge Larry Sullivant gave Dr. Edwin McDonald custody of 7-year-old Edwin and his sister Teresa, 9.

The children’s mother, Terry Jean LaNotte McDonald, 34, became hysterical when the ruling was announced and was led from the courtroom, screaming “Don’t let them take my babies!”

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McDonald and the children immediately flew to Los Angeles International Airport, where they met with Assemblyman Gray Davis (D-Los Angeles), who had aided the father in his search. The McDonalds then flew home to Fresno.

“To say he is excited is an understatement,” Davis said.

The children were abducted Aug. 1, 1983. They were found Tuesday in Denton, Tex., only hours after Teresa’s picture appeared in a roll call of missing children run after Monday’s national telecast of the NBC-TV movie “Adam.”

An anonymous viewer called a missing children’s hot line number after seeing Teresa’s picture and told authorities that the girl was enrolled in a private school in Denton.

During the hearing, the former Mrs. McDonald claimed that she took the children out of fear for their safety. McDonald, likewise, said he believed that the children would be in danger if they continued to live with their mother.

Judge Sullivant ultimately deferred to a 1984 California court ruling--handed down after the children disappeared--that gave McDonald full custody.


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