Charge against Elaine Yates dropped

Warwick Beacon ·

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced Wednesday that a charge pending against Elaine Yates, a former Warwick woman who pleaded not guilty to abducting her two daughters 31 years ago, was dismissed.

“After reviewing all of the evidence in this case, most significantly evidence that was not available or unknown to investigators prior to the discovery and apprehension of Ms. Yates, the laws in effect in 1988, when Ms. Yates left Rhode Island with her two daughters, and the fact that the well-being of the missing children has been established, the charge against Ms. Yates is dismissed in the interest of justice,” read a Notice of Dismissal filed yesterday in Kent County Superior Court.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, her ex-husband, Russell Yates, who had searched extensively for his daughters for decades, said he’d met with Kilmartin Tuesday and asked for the charge to be dropped.

“Me trying to push it would only hurt me trying to establish a relationship with my daughters,” he said.

The Attorney General’s Public Information Officer Amy Kempe confirmed Yates had met with Kilmartin and state police.

After being apprehended in Texas Jan. 16, Elaine Yates was back in Warwick Jan. 18 to face a charge from Oct. 14, 1988 that she had abducted her two daughters.

At the arraignment in Kent County Superior Court, Elaine Yates pleaded not guilty to the 1988 charge of abduction prior to a court order, which is a felony. The single count names both daughters. She was released on $50,000 personal recognizance, agreed to a waiver of extradition and was told to surrender her passport to Texas authorities. Magistrate Judge John McBurney allowed Yates to travel for working and residency, thereby enabling her to return to the Houston area.

State Police had told Russell Yates on Jan. 16 that they had a lead on the whereabouts of his wife and children. He was hopeful then, and remains so now.

“I just hope someday my daughters will contact me when they realize I wish their mom no ill will or harm. It’s too late to be bitter. That isn’t going to help anything,” Yates said. “The important thing is that my daughters are alive and doing well, and I hope they realize I love them and never gave up caring about them and looking for them.”

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