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Missing Suwanee boys spotted at Tenn. Walmart

Police said Daniel Cleary and his sons were spotted at a Walmart in Jackson, Tenn.

Police said Daniel Cleary and his sons were spotted at a Walmart in Jackson, Tenn.

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Police said Daniel Cleary and his sons were spotted at a Walmart in Jackson, Tenn.

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Henry Cleary, left, and Ben Cleary

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Police said Daniel Cleary is likely driving a silver jeep similar to this one.

SUWANEE -- On Friday, for the first time in days, Theresa Nash had hope.

The Suwanee woman's two sons -- 9-year-old Benjamin Cleary and his brother Henry, who turns 8 years old on Saturday -- were still missing, presumed kidnapped by their father and the subject of a nationwide search.

But authorities released late Friday afternoon surveillance photos from a Walmart store in Jackson, Tenn. They clearly show the boys and their father leaving the store and at a checkout counter on what police said were Dec. 23 and 24.

Nash struggled for each word while speaking to media members shortly after getting word of the photos, the first concrete evidence since 46-year-old Daniel Cleary did not bring their children as planned.

"I am just so hopeful," Nash said. "And I have not been hopeful until this moment."

The elder Cleary, who lives in Roswell, had reportedly been with the children since Dec. 19 and planned on taking them to the aquarium in Chattanooga, Tenn. A nationwide Amber Alert was issued Wednesday after they didn't return to their mother's Suwanee townhome.

Henry and Ben Cleary are second- and third-graders, respectively, at Suwanee's Burnette Elementary. They have no other siblings. Contrary to prior reports, their mother -- the assistant director of academic programs for Emory University's global health department, a friend said -- was never married to their father.

Gwinnett County court records show Daniel Cleary had filed a motion for a modification of child support, which was scheduled to be heard by a judge on Jan. 4.

The photos released Friday showed the two young boys, donning puffy blue winter vests, with their father at the Walmart store in Jackson, Tenn., about two hours west of Nashville.

An emotional Nash said the development was big, but didn't necessarily help confine the search area.

"This is a nationwide search. It can't be focused in any area," she said. "It has to be focused on the whole country. The plea is that people repost on Facebook the Levi's alert and share it broadly. This is how we're able to find the children and bring them home."

A Levi's Call is Georgia's version of the national Amber Alert.

Roswell police Lt. James McGee said late Friday afternoon that several people had called to report seeing Daniel Cleary or his silver 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee (temporary Georgia tag 10742627) "in various places." The department and several other agencies were working to vet those leads and "beat the bushes," he said.

"Hopefully somebody gave us some good information," McGee said.

Ben Cleary is described as approximately 4-foot-8 and 66 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Henry Cleary is about 4-foot-5 and 60 pounds with light brown hair and green eyes.

Both boys are Caucasian. Their father is described as about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

Anyone with information is urged to call Roswell police at 770-640-4160, Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS, or 911.

Meanwhile, Nash said she was told local and federal authorities are working with law enforcement agencies across the country and "pursuing all of the leads with local law enforcement in all of the different states."

The massive search area is daunting, but Friday's developments were encouraging, the mother said.

"I was beginning to lose hope," Nash said.

Comments

Gundoctor1 1 year, 3 months ago

Not the best way to get the judge to go along with you buddy!

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

Like I said before, but my comment was removed, there is more to this than meets the eye. The picture does not depict the kids in any harm but actually may be happy to be with their dad! Maybe its a long-time coming reunion! The mother never married the father. Whose decision was that? That should tell you that something is amiss with this story. The media has held back all the details or not wanting to expose the mother to any blame here. My hunch is the mother has kept the father from enjoying quality kid time and decided to go off for the holidays and be with his kids. The media needs to ask more questions to the mother and print more details before we point the finger at the father.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

The media can only print what they can obtain and furthermore, the Dad broke the law....plain and simple.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 3 months ago

my money's with the mom on this one..

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alismom13 1 year, 3 months ago

k, I hope your judgement is not clouded by your own personal experience. I'm sure the police, media have used facts such as: Mr Cleary did not comply with court order to check in every day of visit, he was just released from rehab, he liquidated assets, he purchased gun on the trip, he turned off phone and is not communicating with family/friends, he did not return kids at Christmas - to determine this is a kidnap/child in danger situation. The smiling pix you site were taken before the date the boys thought they would be returning home. Many innocent children are happy to be with parents they don't understand are dangerous. Didn't the little boys out west run smiling into their fathers home, just before their father slammed the door in the social worker's face, took a hatchet to the boys then lit the match that exploded the whole house, killing all three? The behavior described above could lead to the same type of crime. That is why most of us are praying and hoping to find the boys and the father before any one is hurt. I have posted the Levi alert to FB friends in hope that some one will find them soon. Mr Cleary can't hide if everyone is looking.

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