44 year-old James Ray Bryant had his three kids visiting him in Florida. His 15 year-old daughter Megan, and two sons- 13 year-old Maxwell and 12 year-old Sebastian- were set to go home in August.
But when it was time to return to mom Kelly Bryant in Belgrade, the children never boarded the plane.
"We've been actively pursuing and trying to track them through email correspondence, cell phone towers and IP addresses" said Belgrade Police Detective Dustin Lensing.
Det. Lensing said they spent the next 7 and a half months trying to track them with any lead they could find.
But the problem- they were reportedly in a boat, sailing international waters.
And, he said, Bryant was trying to evade them.
"He was making a concerted effort to try to throw us off on many occasions" Det. Lensing said.
Each time police figured out a possible location, the boat was outside the U.S. near the Bahamas.
The arrest warrants were only active inside the country, so even if the boat was tracked down, Bryant couldn't be arrested.
Det. Lensing said they were in the process of trying to arrange an international extradition, but the process is lengthy.
Then finally last weekend, police received a break in the case.
Bryant's wife Angela returned from internationl waters and flew to Hawaii to visit family. She was now back on U.S. soil.
When Detective Lensing learned of her trip, he contacted police in Hawaii, who arrested and interrogated her.
"She revealed to Hawaiian authorities and FBI authorities in Hawaii that it was possible that James and the kids were still in the south Florida area" Det. Lensing said, of her confession.
He immediately notified the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The agencies wasted no time in locating the 40-foot long Catamaran sailboat.
"The coast guard pursued the boat up to a half a mile within international waters" Det. Lensing said, of how close Bryant was from slipping away from authorities.
"They were able to located the boat, James Bryant was taken into custody" he said, of the actions that followed.
The children were safe, and later re-united with their mother.
"She is extremely ecstatic about the situation" Det. Lensing said. "Hopefully these kids can return to some sort of normalcy."
Bryant and his wife are in the process of being extradited to Gallatin County, where they'll face charges of Parental Interference in court.