Missing sisters last seen 3 years ago in Pennsylvania found safe; Mom turns herself in to police

Missing sisters, Hanna Lee and Skye Rex, who were last seen with their mother three years ago in Pennsylvania, have been found safe, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

The nonprofit company made the announcement Wednesday via social media using age-progressed images of the girls.

NCMEC shared a statement on behalf of the children’s father, John Rex the same day. 

"I’m so grateful for everyone’s support in helping us get to this day," the statement reads. "Time froze three [years] ago when my beautiful girls were suddenly taken from my life. I’m overjoyed and now focusing on getting the girls back home with me. I ask for privacy at this time as we navigate the coming days. Thank you."

"When John got the news from police, he called me right away and he was so ecstatic. We of course, we’re very happy for him and this is just the best news," said Angeline Hartmann with NCMEC, who says this case is a perfect example of why people always need to pay attention to missing children cases.

"A lot of times there’s that wrong, you know, idea that if a child is not found in the first few hours – the first few days, that something terrible has happened to that child, and we will not find that child  – and that’s why we focus on these long term missing cases," she added.

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The siblings, 5 and 7 years old at the time, were last seen on March 17, 2020. Rex told police a Maryland judge had just granted him emergency custody of the two girls, who were staying with their mother in Pennsylvania at the time. Rex told authorities when he reached out to pick up his children, that’s when things went radio silent.

The Waynesboro Police Chief previously spoke of how police believed Lee was hiding-out in the greater Washington D.C.-Maryland area.

Police confirmed Lee traveled to Waynesboro, PA, and turned herself in on April 19th. The children are now safe in protective custody with Franklin County Children and Youth Services.

"When you think about all the things he has to navigate behind the scenes right now. It’s a lot," Hartman said. "These girls have been gone for three years. You don’t know what they’ve been told about their father. You know they’re young, and you don’t just snap your fingers and everything is great, ‘Here, go with daddy.’ So he’s got a lot on his plate right now,"

Rex shared the good news on Facebook, adding that he couldn’t wait to see his daughters.

FOX 5 found a possible, unconfirmed Silver Spring address for someone matching the mother’s name. A school spokesperson confirmed the girls were not enrolled within MCPS. FOX 5 is still waiting for other area school districts to respond.

A couple months after the children’s disappearance, court documents say police learned the mother’s vehicle was listed for sale in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Police tracked the vehicle to being purchased from Ourisman Chevrolet in Marlow Heights, Maryland, and believe Lee sold her car there about five days after she was made aware of the emergency custody order.

Lee had a court appearance on Wednesday and was released on a $25,000 bond. She’s due in court again on April 25.

No other charges have been announced in connection with this case.

The investigation is ongoing.