Missing boys found in Texas, dad arrested

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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ROSWELL, Ga. - Roswell police have confirmed that a father who allegedly abducted his two sons is in police custody.

Daniel Cleary is in custody in Austin, Texas. Police said his sons Ben Cleary, 9, and Henry Cleary, 7, are safe although police did not indicate where the three were found. Police did not discuss the circumstances surrounding the recovery of the trio.

Channel 2 Action News had been covering the search for the Clearys since Friday when an Amber Alert was issued for the boys.

"I spoke with the boys. They were going on a planned trip to Chattanooga," Theresa Nash told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik. "They had just arrived at the hotel and were very excited."

Nash said a court order required Cleary to check in every night, and when he didn't call on the night of Dec. 22, then failed to return the boys to her Suwanee home on Dec. 23, Nash said she became concerned.

"He loves the boys very much. I think he has mental illness," she said. "He also just got out of rehab, so normal logic doesn't apply."

Nash said Cleary recently purchased a gun and ditched his car for a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which she told police to look out for during their search. She said the silver Jeep had a temporary tag on it with the No. 1074262 on it. She also said the Jeep might have been towing a trailer with a dark-colored cargo on top. 

Later Friday afternoon, police released surveillance photos of Cleary and the boys taken at a Chattanooga, Tenn. Walmart.  Nash couldn't contain her emotions after seeing a picture of the boys.

"I am so hopeful and I haven't been hopeful until this moment," she told Channel 2's Eric Philips.

"He does love the boys so I really appeal to him because he does love them to do what he needs to do and he knows that, to bring them home," said Nash. "I will be very lenient with you. I will work with you. All I want and you want is for the kids to be safe."

Nash said Cleary had emptied his home of several large electronics and TVs, and police said that's led them to believe he was planning to do this.

"He definitely doesn't look like he's coming back and he's doing some things overtly to say he's gone," Lt. James McGee with the Roswell Police Department said before the group was found.

Nash earlier planned a vigil for the boys on Sunday, 2 p.m. at the Suwanee Town Center Park.

Police said Nash is on her way to Austin to pick up her sons.

Click here for updates on the search for Ben and Henry Cleary.

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