3 South Fla. children taken from school found safe in Calif.

Published On: Feb 20 2014 08:16:22 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 21 2014 08:01:47 PM EST

On the morning after three children were found safe in California, their father gets sole custody of the boys.

BARSTOW, Calif. -

Three South Florida children who were taken against their will have been found safe on the other side of the country, and two people have been arrested in connection with their disappearance, Miami-Dade school police said.

Police said Erin Pena, 12, Steven Pena, 8, and Derick Pena, 7, were abducted from Gulfstream Elementary School during lunch last Friday.

Carrie Weingarth and her boyfriend, Christian Coello, were apprehended and taken into custody Thursday in Barstow, Calif. Police said Weingarth and Coello took the three children against their will.

Federal prosecutors issued arrest warrants for Weingarth, the mother of the missing children, and her boyfriend, Coello, on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Weingarth had previously been seen traveling west in a 2014 Jeep Patriot with the children in the Walker, La., area. Police said the Jeep was rented in Jacksonville.

Miami-Dade school police notified Barstow authorities that they had information that Weingarth, Coello and the boys may have been traveling through the area.

Steven Pena Sr. left family court Thursday morning with an order granting him sole custody of the three boys he hasn't seen in a week.

"That means my kids will be safe and in good hands," he told Local 10 News.

The news that the boys were found safe came just hours after Weingarth's sister made an emotional plea for her to turn herself in.

"I'm just glad that she's safe and my nephews are back and they'll be OK," Melissa Weingarth said.


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