Now these two missing sisters have been found after disappearing 31 years ago and they're alive.
Their father, Russell Yates, told journalists outside his home: "You live 30 years wondering what the hell is going on – if anything has happened to anybody."
He said "it is a great feeling" knowing they are alive and well.
Yates' ex-wife, Elaine, now faces abduction charges. Authorities say she built a new in Houston -- 1,800 miles from her home in Rhode Island.
Kimberly Yates was three and her kid sister, Kelly, just 10 months old when their mom allegedly snatched them in 1985.
"I had an extramarital affair, there was a lot of arguing back and forth, it was the worst thing I had ever done in my life. I am very sorry about it," he told reporters.
He did admitted to reporters that he slapped his wife back then.
Police say a tip led them to a condo in Houston, where Elaine Yates was living under the name Liana Waldberg.
Houston businessman Rick Archer knew the mom from the dance cruises he organized and which she went on.
"She is an extremely poised, polished woman, intelligent, well liked. She is not like a fugitive looking over her shoulder," he told Inside Edition.
Kimberly is now 35 and Kelly is 32. Both have families of their own.
The distraught father says he now has another grown daughter from another relationship.
"I can’t run down to Texas and convince them, I don’t want to scare anybody. I gotta sit back and wait to see if they want to get in touch with me," he told reporters.
The suspect appeared in court in Rhode Island Wednesday to face the charges.
She was asked to state her name and she said: “Liana Waldberg.” She was then asked if she was Elaine Yates and she replied “yes.”
She pleaded not guilty to the charges.