Image: Mourad Samaan
AP
Mourad Samaan is shown in an undated photo released by the FBI. Authorities say he kidnapped his daughter, Madeline, after her mother was granted custody.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 8/14/2011 2:26:20 PM ET 2011-08-14T18:26:20

The bodies of a missing 2-year-old Sacramento girl and her father were discovered Saturday night in the man's vehicle, nearly a week after she was taken by the man during a child custody dispute, authorities said.

Madeline Samaan-Fay and Mourad "Moni" Samaan, 49, were found dead in his green Toyota 4Runner in a rural area near Placerville, about 45 miles northeast of the capital, according to FBI Special Agent John Cauthen. The vehicle was found only a few miles from the Eldorado National Forest, reported the Sacramento Bee.

The cause and time of the deaths was not immediately known, Cauthen said. Autopsies were scheduled for later on Sunday.

FBI agents and investigators from the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department were on the scene late Saturday. The investigation was expected to last throughout the weekend, Cauthen said.

Madeline was taken by her father last Sunday after her mother was granted custody of the toddler. The FBI issued an AMBER alert Friday.

The father and daughter were last seen in a Sacramento Raley's grocery store Sunday. Since then, Samaan had cut off all communication with friends and family members, Cauthen said.

Samaan was served the day before with a notice that the girl's mother was awarded full custody of their daughter, ending what had been a joint custody arrangement, Cauthen said.

He then failed to return the child to her mother as expected. Earlier this week the FBI said the girl's life could be in danger due to "particularly concerning" circumstances surrounding her abduction.

Samaan had not been charged with a crime. According to the Bee, Samaan was born in Egypt, but is a U.S. citizen.

The mother didn't report the girl missing until Tuesday. The FBI had asked the public for its help in spotting the pair or Samaan's vehicle. The FBI also released photographs of the pair, including a photo showing them in the grocery store Sunday.

msnbc.com contributed to this report from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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