REDWOOD CITY (CBS / AP) – A man accused of kidnapping his two children and taking them on a stolen yacht has told a judge that he was trying to protect them from an abusive home.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that 43-year-old Christopher Maffei did not enter a plea on Monday to charges of kidnapping, child endangerment and burglary. He is due back in San Mateo County Superior Court on Sept. 17.

Maffei is accused of forcibly taking his 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son from their grandmother while the children’s mother was in court seeking a restraining order against him.

Police say Maffei took a yacht from an Alameda marina and headed south along California’s coast.

Authorities said the Coast Guard, FBI and police caught up with him near Monterey after a fisherman reported seeing him in the vessel, and Maffei surrendered without incident.

He is being held in San Mateo County Jail on $200,000 bail.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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