SALT LAKE CITY -- A father searching for his two missing daughters for a year and a half, explained Monday what it was like to know they’ve been found with their own mother.
Brian Wolferts said when 16-year-old Sydney and 15-year-old Danielle vanished while visiting their mom, Michelle Wolferts, in Utah in July 2014, he knew right away claims they had run away were false.
On the phone from his home in Kansas, Brian Wolferts, said he suspected his ex-wife had something to do with the girls’ disappearance.
Brian Wolferts was awarded full custody of his daughters. He said even if they were with their mother, he wanted them back home with him.
"It’s hard as a parent when your children are unaccounted for,” he said. ”There is no closure in not knowing where they are."
On Sunday, Orem police arrested mom Michelle Wolferts in Pleasant Grove after a tip led to her and the girls.
They’d reportedly been staying with different families, and most recently, a family friend at an apartment complex.
Michelle Wolferts admitted to FOX 13 on Sunday that she’d been living with the girls for most of the year and a half span.
"My reasoning was just that I wanted them to feel like they had a choice,” she said referring her ex-husband's custody over her daughters.
The girls say in videos posted on YouTube and sent to Dr. Phil that they didn’t want to live with Brian Wolferts.
“We want our dad to stop trying to control us and stop telling hurtful lies,” Sydney said in one of the videos.
Later on in the video, Danielle said, “If we ever choose to see our dad again we want this to be on our terms only.”
They, along with eldest sister Brittany, have also made claims of abuse.
Brian Wolferts said that’s simply not true. He said his ex-wife put the girls up to this, and turned them against him.
"There’s a lot of talk out there, there’s a lot of accusations,” he said. “It’s a simple form of manipulation. If they can demonize me publicly, then it excuses their behaviors."
Michelle Wolferts maintains she did what the girls wanted. But in the end, she violated the law and faces misdemeanor charges for custodial interference, housing assistance fraud and filing a false report.
While Brian Wolferts is excited to know that Sydney and Danielle could head home, he knows he faces a tough road ahead.
"Unfortunately the police said that they were not in a very good emotional or mental state and they were not cooperating with police,” he said, of how the girls are doing in state hands. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us."
He’s already been in touch with the State of Kansas and is in the process of contacting the State of Utah, he said, to work with child and family services in each state.
Brian Wolferts said he plans to get the two therapy and help, and let the state guide the process of reintegration.
He said it’s not clear yet what will happen with his daughters from here, but he hopes the girls can work through it all so they can return home.
“I think I’ve got the patience, and definitely the love,” he said. “I’m here for them when they’re ready. And I’m going to continue to do what’s in their best interest.”