Teen missing since 2004 found; stepfather arrested at airport

Scott Kelley (CHANNEL 2 PHOTO)
Caption
Scott Kelley (CHANNEL 2 PHOTO)

ExploreMore popular and trending stories

For more than 10 years, they were on the run, a fugitive family: the girl, who was only 8 when they disappeared, the mom, and the stepfather, always at least a step ahead of any pursuers who wanted to bring them back, for her safety or for justice.

Authorities called it a kidnapping. The mother and the stepdad said, no, it was for the girl’s protection.

Wednesday afternoon, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the running finally ended. Scott Kelley, the stepdad, and Mary Nunes, now a 19-year-old woman, were stopped by U.S. Marshals who’d been tipped by the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica, where they’d been staying, that they they were headed here.

Kelley, 50, was arrested and taken to the Clayton County Jail where he was awating extradition to New Hampshire, the state from which they fled in 2004 during a heated custody battle with Mary’s father, Mark Nunes.

The mother, Genevieve Kelley, had given up and turned herself in last November, returning to the U.S. to get medical care for her son with Scott Kelley, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. Like him, she is facing charges.

Explore>> Read more trending stories

Mary, who, authorities said, told them she was in good health and acting of her own free will, was not detained, She left with a family attorney and another person headed to Colorado, the Union Leader reported

The arrest and Mary Nunes’ return marked a turning point in the decade-long saga.

The Kelleys had fled New Hampshire with Nunes after police and courts rejected Genevieve's accusations that Mark Nunes had sexually abused Mary, the Union Leader reported.

Their whereabouts over the years were not entirely clear, but a private investigator told the Union Leader that Mary said she had only a 10th grade education because she had moved so often.

Mark Nunes, in a statement obtained by the Union Leader, said: “We love Mary and are overjoyed that she is alive and back in the U.S. Our hearts and home are open to her, and we will do everything we can to insure she remains safe and healthy.”