After a year of heartache and fear, a father has been reunited with his two missing children. In a remarkable story of resilience and determination, the father’s ex-wife had allegedly kept them out of school and away from people in order to avoid detection, but the children were found in a Florida grocery store last week. Read on to learn more about this incredible story and the lengths the mother allegedly went to hide the children.

The two children, aged 11 and 12, had been reported missing from Missouri on March 15. Blake Gilley, the father of the children, said he was “terrified and freaked out” when he realized they were gone. The children told him that since their disappearance, they had been living in rural Airbnb’s and avoiding speaking with people in public.

The family was eventually found in a Winn-Dixie in High Springs, Florida, with their mother, Kristi Nicole Gilley. She was arrested on an active kidnapping warrant out of Clay County, Missouri. The three had disguised their identities, though it’s not clear how exactly.

Blake Gilley was reunited with his children on Friday and they told him their mother had kept them inside and instructed them not to speak or look anyone in the eyes when they were out in public. Because of this, his son still has the habit of looking at the ground.

Kristi Gilley is currently in the Alachua County jail, and her attorney has said she will fight extradition to Missouri because she wants to become a Florida resident. The father was granted sole custody after Kristi Gilley failed to appear in court.

Blake Gilley said his children were not physically harmed, but emotionally, “they are still in shock.” He hopes to get them counseling and back in school to give them a fighting chance in life.

This story of resilience and determination is a reminder of the power of hope and the strength of family. It is also a reminder of the importance of speaking out and seeking help when something feels wrong. We are grateful for the incredible work of the police and other authorities in finding these children and reuniting them with their father.