Bill Connington?s two young sons have been missing for 11 years after their mother abducted them and disappeared. Tuesday night authorities in Pennsylvania called Connington to confirm they had been found safe and sound in Milton, where their mother had been living under an alias.
Jill Diane Haugen, 48, was arrested Tuesday at her home in Milton, Pennsylvania where she was going by the name Ann Thompson. Haugen is Connington's ex-wife and the mother of Connington's 17-year-old and 15-year-old sons.
Milton Police Officer Todd Ulrich called Connington by phone Tuesday to tell him the news. Ulrich says Connington was "absolutely surprised" and had thought he'd never see his sons again.
"I always had the hope, I never gave that up," Connington said. "I thought I might never see them again."
In 1998 an arrest warrant was issued for Haugen's arrest after she took the boys after Connington was awarded custody. A break in the case came when a social worker grew suspicious because of things the boys, who were recently placed into foster care, said about their past. One of them used his real name and when the social worker Googled his name they found the boy was missing.
Monday morning Connnington got a call from investigators in Pennsylvania about his sons.
"I turned white like a ghost. I just started shaking. I was just in awe, I didn't know what to think I was just told they found them and nothing else and to contact the detectives," Connington said.
Haugen said Tuesday that she is a victim of domestic violence and her sons are victims of sexual abuse. Police say there's no merit to her claims. Investigators say that Haugen will be extradited to Washington and Connington hopes she spends time in jail for kidnapping his kids.
"I just want to see justice done," he said.
As for his sons they are in foster care right now. Bill says he can't wait to welcome them back to Spokane.