Man faces several charges for kidnapping children

September 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two South San Francisco toddlers are home safe and sound after being snatched from their own home and spending three nights on the run with their father.

3-year-old Brooklyn and 2-year-old Devin Maffei spent Saturday playing at a cousin's birthday party; this, just a mere 12 hours after the Coast Guard rescued them off a stolen yacht near Monterey.

"In my heart, you know I'm just so relieved they were found and they were safe," grandmother Jean Hipon said.

Authorities arrested the children's father, 43-year-old Christopher Maffei. He's charged with kidnapping, parental abduction, and child endangerment.

According to Jean, on Tuesday afternoon Maffei jumped over a fence, broke into the house, grabbed the two kids, and ran down the street to his rental car, which was still running. He put the kids inside and sped away.

Police say Maffei then drove to Alameda, where he stole a 40-foot yacht.

San Francisco police, county officials, the FBI, and the Coast Guard tracked Maffei's open sea get away for three days. On Friday, just before 8 p.m., two boats filled with law enforcement and hostage negotiators moved in.

"The suspect expressed that he was remorseful, that he wanted to do anything that he could to assist," South San Francisco Police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.

While their father was taken into custody, the children were reunited with their mother, Jennifer Hipon.

"She's exhausted, just exhausted. But she's happy," Jean said.

Jennifer has been estranged from her ex-boyfriend for two years. In fact, the day her children were taken from her home, she was filing for a restraining order against Maffei.


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