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Missing Presque Isle boys found safe in North Carolina, father arrested

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The two Presque Isle boys who were taken out of state in a custody dispute were located safe in North Carolina and their father arrested on Tuesday, according to the Presque Isle Police Department.

In late April, local police asked for the public’s help in a case that had been under investigation for several weeks. Joel Strother, 40, who has resided in the Madawaska area, allegedly took his sons Joel II, 12, and Carter III, 10, out of state against their will and against the wishes of their mother, who lives in the Presque Isle area.

Carter Strother III, age 10. Joel Strother II, age 12.
(Courtesy of Presque Isle Police Department)

“He has violated the custody agreement,” Presque Isle Police Detective Chris Beck said earlier. “He has basically hidden the children. There has been no communication from Mr. Strother or from the two children to their mother.”

Police believed Strother left Maine with the boys heading toward the southern United States.

On Tuesday, Presque Isle police said that Strother was arrested in North Carolina and the boys were located safe.

The multi-state police search for the Strothers ended after a tip from a member of the public, police said.

A felony arrest warrant had been issued for Strother’s arrest. He now faces a Class B felony charge of criminal restraint by a parent and is currently being held in Macon County, North Carolina, where he is awaiting transportation back to Maine. Beck said that arrangements are being made to bring the boys back to Maine.

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