Missing girls found in Wyoming

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two children who were allegedly kidnapped by their father, Matthew Chapman, of Exeter, will soon be returning to Barry County.

Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly reported that Abby Chapman, 7, and Isabella Chapman, 3, as well as their father, Matthew Chapman, were found on July 29 by authorities in Parks County, Wyoming.

"Matthew Chapman has not been transported back to Missouri yet," said Barry County Chief Deputy Major Leonard Collins. "Currently, he is still in Parks County. He will be transported back eventually, but I cannot say when at this time.

"The girls are well and doing good," said Collins. "They were with Matthew when he was found. They are currently in a temporary foster home in Parks County. They will be transported back to the area within the next three days."

Abby and Isabella Chapman will be transported back to Missouri with the help of the Parks County Sheriff's Department and juvenile office and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said Collins.

"They were located after a man spoke with Matthew when his vehicle broke down near Cody, Wyo.," said Collins. "The man realized who he was and notified the authorities. The Parks County sheriff located and took Matthew Chapman into custody at a campground near North Fork."

According to Epperly, Matthew Chapman has made allegations against the children's mother. Once the girls are returned to Barry County, the Children's Division of Family Services and the Juvenile Office will investigate the home for potential issues detrimental to the welfare of the children.

Abby and Isabella Chapman were first reported missing on July 10. They were last seen about three weeks ago when their father picked them up from their mother's residence in Exeter. Matthew Chapman told the girls' mother that he was taking them to Silver Dollar City.

After Matthew Chapman failed to return the children to their mother, the sheriff's office issued an endangered person advisory for both girls. A felony warrant for parental kidnapping was also issued for Matthew Chapman.

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