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Police: 2 Ga. children reported missing found safe

Associated Press Modified: February 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm •  Published: February 22, 2012

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Two young children who police say were kidnapped from the side of an Atlanta-area interstate early Wednesday are safe but authorities are looking for the man who took them and later dropped them off with friends, authorities say.

Three-year-old Jalen Mattison and his 1-year-old sister Amari Mattison were with their mother when their Volvo broke down on Interstate 20, east of Atlanta. The mother, whose name was not released, told investigators that a passer-by offered to help by driving the woman and her children in his Jeep Cherokee to a Shell gas station just off a nearby highway exit, DeKalb County police spokeswoman Mekka Parish said.

When a county officer pulled over to investigate the abandoned vehicle, the mother left her children at the station and walked back to her broken-down car, Parish said. By the time she returned to the gas station, her children were gone and an intensive search began.

The suspect very soon after took the children to the home of two women, who say they only know him by his nickname, which investigators declined to make public. The women, who were not named, said they thought they were babysitting. They say they didn't realize what was happening until they saw media reports about the abduction in the afternoon and then contacted police at a local courthouse and turned over the children,

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