State of Rhode Island dismisses child snatching charges against Elaine Yates

Kimberly Yates (left, age-progressed), her sister, Kelly Yates (center, age-progressed), and their mother, Elaine Yates (right, mugshot).
Kimberly Yates (left, age-progressed), her sister, Kelly Yates (center, age-progressed), and their mother, Elaine Yates (right, mugshot).

HOUSTON – Rhode Island State Police say two children reported missing in 1985 were found in the Houston area earlier this month.

Rhode Island charged their noncustodial mother with snatching them, but those charges have been dismissed after court records indicate new evidence exonerated her.

Police said Tuesday an anonymous tip two days before Christmas led them to Kimberly and Kelly Yates, and their 69-year-old mother, Elaine Yates.

Harris County court documents show in 2009 Elaine Yates legally changed her name to Liana Waldberg.

According to LinkedIn, she worked at a Southwest Houston collections agency. Officials at the agency declined to give comments about Yates.

Neighbors at the Galleria-area condo complex where she lived, said she mostly kept to herself. They were stunned to learn a fugitive was living next door.

"If somebody does something wrong then they should be brought to justice at one time or another. Everybody makes mistakes -- she should admit the mistake and pay the consequences," said Richard Perez, an apartment resident.

Brittany Hammers, a neighbor who lives across the street from Yates, was shock to hear the secret her neighbor kept.