Kidnapped 20 Years Ago, Kids to Reunite with Parents

02/05/2009 at 03:40 PM EST



After nearly 20 years, a Tennessee couple are expected to be reunited with their now-adult two children – who, as youngsters, were allegedly abducted by their grandparents and then disappeared, it was reported on Thursday's Today show.

Tipped off by an woman who wished to remain anonymous, authorities on Monday found Christie and Bobby Baskin in San Jose, Calif., with their grandfather, Marvin Maple, according to Tennessee's Murfreesboro Post.

Arrested Monday night, the grandfather has been charged with the March 1, 1989, kidnapping of Christie, then 8, and Bobby, then 7. Grandmother Sandra Maple, who was also implicated in the abduction, reportedly died about two years ago.

Just prior to the kidnapping, Marvin and Sandra Maple accused the children's parents – Debbie and Mark Baskin – of sexually abusing the children. Authorities in Tennessee ultimately labeled the grandparents' claims unfounded.

"I can't go into details about psychological stability, but obviously you don't run off with your children's kids like this unless there is something wrong with you," Mark Baskin told the newspaper last month.

Parents Wish to Re-Establish Ties

For 20 years, the parents searched. The children were apparently seen in the '90s in northern California, after their story was told on TV's Unsolved Mysteries.

Last December, Tennessee authorities received a tip that they may have been spotted in San Diego, said their father, who, with his wife, hopes to establish a relationship with the children.

"We don't want to appear to be pushy or bombastic," Mark Baskin said. "We want to lay the fleece out and say this is what we want. The ball is in their court."

The parents have so far discovered that Christie, who goes by the name of Jenny Bunting, is single, lives with her grandfather, and studied for and became a nurse. The Post also says that Bobby, under the name Jonathan Bunting, has a wife and may have children.

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