October 30, 2014 / 9:35 PM / 5 years ago

Pennsylvania boy who disappeared with father on sailboat found in South Pacific

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A 9-year-old boy reported missing after he disappeared with his father aboard a sailboat in Washington state has been located on an island in the South Pacific and will be reunited with his mother, the FBI said on Thursday.

His father, Jeffrey Ford Hanson, 46, has been charged with international parental kidnapping and was taken into custody by authorities in Niue, an island country more than 5,000 miles from the U.S. mainland, the FBI said.

“Billy’s family has been notified and authorities are now working to reunite Billy with his mother,” FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement.

Billy was visiting his father in Seattle last month and had been due to return home to his mother’s house in Pennsylvania on Sept. 4. But he never boarded the flight, according to a Washington state missing person’s report.

Father and son had been staying on Hanson’s 1976 White Cooper sailboat in Seattle’s Shilshole Bay Marina, the FBI said.

Federal law enforcement said at the time they believed Hanson had sailed out into the Pacific Ocean, heading anywhere from Mexico to the South Pacific islands. A federal arrest warrant was issued on Sept. 12 charging Hanson with kidnapping and the agency contacted international authorities.

Officials in Niue discovered the pair this week and took Jeffrey Hanson into custody, officials said. U.S. authorities were arranging for his extradition, the FBI statement said.

Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney

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