updated 2/3/2006 7:58:56 PM ET 2006-02-04T00:58:56

Two children abducted more than six years ago by their mother were reunited with their father this week after they were found during a traffic stop, the FBI said Friday.

Authorities have said Joyce Linda Murray Steyne, 45, of Lillington, and her older brother, Stephen Kirk Murray, picked up Steyne's three children on Dec. 17, 1999, at their father's home in Ahoskie.

Despite a court order, Steyne's two daughters were not returned, authorities have said. A teenage son was later found abandoned at a hotel in Roanoke Rapids.

The girls, whom the FBI did not identify by name or age on Friday, were found in a car during a traffic stop Thursday in Lillington when a law enforcement officer became suspicious and identified Steyne. The girls have since been reunited with their father, the FBI said.

In 2000, police said the girls were aged 8 and 6, and the son left at the hotel was 16.

The FBI said Steyne is charged with removal of minor children in North Carolina in violation of a custody order and an unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. She was being held Friday in the Harnett County Jail. The FBI said authorities were still searching for Murray.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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