RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Two young sisters who were allegedly abducted out of Riverside by their father following a domestic violence incident were found in Utah, police announced Thursday.

From left to right: 20-month-old Darla Yonko her sister, 8-month-old Emma Yonko, and 24-year-old Joshua Adle. (California Highway Patrol)

Riverside police confirmed that Utah State Highway Patrol Thursday found 24-year-old Joshua Adle, his parents and his live-in girlfriend’s two daughters in a white Dodge van on the Interstate 15 in Cedar City.

They said the van wasn’t even on their radar because they originally believed Adle was driving a Cadillac.

In a press conference Thursday, Riverside police Det. Christian Vaughn said he had been in contact with Adle’s family throughout the day. Vaughn said there were cultural barriers in their communication. The Adle family said investigators needed to consult with their council of elders to negotiate terms for returning the children.

“They were imploring us to listen to them and do things the way they wanted to,” Vaughn said.

There had been some question whether Adle was the girls’ biological father. However, Steven Yonko, the girls’ maternal grandfather, confirmed his identity to CBS2 Thursday night.

“He is the father, so, it’s just, he went out of control,” Yonko said.

Adle is now in custody on a felony kidnapping charge. Police said the couple had a long history of domestic violence.

The ordeal began at 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, when California Highway Patrol issued an advisory for 20-month-old Darla Yonko and her sister, 8-month-old Emma Yonko, who were allegedly kidnapped by Joshua Adle.

The three were believed to have been heading to Michigan, Riverside police said.

“There was a domestic altercation that occurred, from what we gather, nothing involved the children, but we don’t know his state of mind or anything like that,” Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback told CBS2 Wednesday.

Adle was accused of kidnapping the two girls sometime after 10 p.m. Tuesday from their home in the 3100 block of Grace Street. Railsback said Adle sent some alarming text messages right after taking the children.

The mother initially claimed to police that Adle was not the girls’ biological father, but was her live-in boyfriend who she had been in a relationship with her for a couple of years. Officials never issued an Amber Alert because they were unsure if there was a threat to the girls.

According to police, between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday, there was a physical altercation between the girls’ mother and Adle that precipitated the abductions. The mother put the girls to bed and left the home. When she got back just before 11 p.m., the girls and Adle were gone.

“She left just for a little while to kind of help cool the situation down, and when she returned, the kids and the boyfriend were gone,” Railsback said.

Along with kidnapping the girls, Adle also took their social security cards and birth certificates, police said. At some point, Adle allegedly told his girlfriend he was taking them to a local business, but never returned. He is from the Detroit area, and investigators believed he could be trying to head to Michigan.

Comments (2)