Police: Missing Byron Center kids found on Mackinac Island

Posted at 12:41 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 12:41:13-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Michigan State Police have released more details about how they found two missing Byron Center girls and their father early Tuesday morning.

Police issued a Endangered Missing Advisory at the request of the Kent County Sheriff late Monday night to help find Alexis Ypma, 12, and her sister Jenna, 9. They were with their father Joel, who was supposed to drop them off at school Monday morning. Family was concerned that Joel might be suffering from some kind of a mental episode.

Around midnight, an innkeeper on Mackinac Island contacted local police that they had seen the Ypmas on the island. Police on the island found the Ypmas and that they were safe.

Police say that the only access to and from the island right now is by plane and the Ypmas had flown to the island earlier in the day.

Michigan State Police say that the Emergency Missing Advisory was created in 2017 when the state strengthened the criteria of AMBER Alerts to be for only cases of child abduction.  They say there have been over 90 successful EMAs since 2017 and can be used for missing persons of any age where the public’s assistance is needed.