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Seven missing children found with estranged father in California

(Reuters) - Seven children from northern California, who were reported missing for days after their mother went grocery shopping, were found safe and uninjured at the home of their estranged father, police said on Friday.

The children's mother and stepfather had left their 12-year-old son to mind six younger siblings while the couple went food shopping on Saturday evening, said Sergeant Jaime Rios, a spokesman for the Fresno Police Department.

When the couple returned, the children were missing, along with their clothing and luggage, police said.

Law enforcement located the children with their biological father, Xa Yang, on Thursday at his home in Sacramento, about 175 miles north of Fresno, Rios said.

"The kids were unharmed. They were all in good spirits," Rios said on Friday.

Rios said the father was divorced from the children's mother and had been estranged from his family for about three years. Because no court-ordered custody arrangement was in place, authorities left the children with their father while they tried to determine if any crimes were committed, Rios said.

Police are investigating whether there was any child neglect or endangerment on the part of the children's mother and stepfather for leaving them at home without adult supervision, and whether the father should be charged with child concealment or abduction, Rios said.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Bernadette Baum)

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