Police across the country were looking for the children's mother, Ashley Lynn-Nichole Todd, 29, and father, Curtis R. Drakeford, 33, who disappeared from Marysville on Tuesday.
On Tuesday night Marysville police issued the Amber Alert, urging drivers and police agencies to watch the roads for the couple and their three children.
Detectives were able to confirm the pair traveled to Deer Lodge, Mont., late Wednesday morning, Marysville police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said.
They were stopped along a stretch of highway between Manhattan and Belgrade in southwest Montana early Wednesday afternoon, Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Pat McCarthy said.
"It was peaceful," McCarthy said. "The children were unharmed."
Officials from Child Protective Services in Washington said they were concerned for the children's safety. They investigated a 2010 incident in which Curtis Drakeford was accused of punching them, according to the Amber Alert notice.
The children were in state custody when they were taken Tuesday, officials said.
They were on a trial visit with their mother under strict orders that their father not be present at the home, Lamoureux said.
Social workers recently learned that the couple was violating those orders. The state agency was in the process of revoking the trial visit when the parents allegedly fled with the children.
Court records show the couple were stopped by Marysville police June 2.
Drakeford was cited for driving with a suspended license and violating a no-contact order.
The children were in the backseat of the car, according to court records.
Social workers were concerned that the children were in danger because of a history of domestic violence between the parents.
Police and social workers visited the home on Monday. The mother and children were there but not the father, who listed an Everett address in court papers.
On Tuesday, social workers got a call from a relative of the family in South Carolina. The caller reported that Todd told relatives the family was headed to South Carolina.
Rikki King contributed to this story.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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