WALWORTH COUNTY -- Criminal charges have been filed against 40-year-old Michalene Melges of Lake Geneva, after Melges and her three sons were located in Savannah, Georgia. The Lake Geneva Police Department had asked for the public's help locating them.
Melges and her children, Hans Melges (age 14), Kristian “Max” Melges (age 12) and Maverik “Buddy” Melges (age 10) had been reported missing -- after being last seen leaving their home on S. Lake Shore Drive near Pine Tree Lane in Lake Geneva on Tuesday, May 10th.
Police said Michalene Melges rented a van in Lake Bluff, Illinois on May 9th and the van was returned to a rental company in Plano, Texas on May 13th.
Melges and the three boys were located safe in Savannah, Georgia on Tuesday, May 24th around 10:30 a.m. after a citizen, who happens to be from Lake Geneva, reported seeing them at a hotel in Savannah on May 19th.
Police and the FBI were notified by this citizen, and they were able to determine the location of Melges and the boys -- a vacation rental property in Savannah. The children were then taken into protective custody and Michalene Melges was arrested.
Michalene Melges is facing seven charges (three felonies), as investigators work to determine what it is that led her to take off with her children in the first place.
The charges filed against Melges Tuesday include:
- Interfering with child custody - other parent (three counts)
- Contributing to truancy (three counts)
- Disorderly conduct
According to a criminal complaint, police in Lake Geneva spoke with the boys' father on May 17th and May 24th. He indicated no one had had contact with Michalene Melges or the three boys since May 9th.
The boys' father told police he had a scheduled visitation with the children on May 6th, and during that time, he had an argument with Michalene Melges. On May 7th, he was supposed to have a scheduled visitation with his children -- but he told police he received a phone call from one of the children indicating they didn't want him arguing anymore and he shouldn't come get them.
The boys' father indicated Michalene Melges failed to turn over the children for scheduled visitations on May 13th, 14th, 16th, 20th, 21st and 24th. He said he had not heard from Melges, despite reaching out to her.
The complaint indicates an "Amended Marital Settlement Agreement" had been filed in January of 2016 and was signed by Melges and the boys' father. That agreement stated that the boys' father was to have the children on Mondays from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., Fridays from 4:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
According to the complaint, on May 9th, the boys' father spoke with Michalene Melges' father, who said he and his wife had gone to Melges' home to "confront her about her behavior," which led to an argument between them. Melges' father indicated Melges said: "You'll never see the kids again."
No one in the family had contact with Melges after May 9th.
The boys' father learned the boys did not attend school on May 16th, and Melges had not called the school to excuse them.
On May 18th, the boys' father learned that Melges had called the school, indicating the boys would not be at school from May 10th through May 13th. There was no information that the boys would not be in school after May 13th, nor any justification for their absence.
Investigators also learned that Melges' co-workers had not heard from her since May 9th.
Police say there was not a custody battle between Melges and the boys' father when she left Lake Geneva.
"She does have sole custody -- but he is allowed visitations and during this process, multiple visitations were missed. There was also a condition that if she is to leave a 150 mile radius, she`s to notify the court as well as Mr. Melges and that did not occur. Michalene is being very vague in the information she`s sharing with authorities in Georgia," Lt. Ed Gritzner with the Lake Geneva Police Department said.
The boys' father did not want to speak on camera Tuesday, but said he is happy the boys are safe and hoped to head to Georgia to pick them up.
"He was extremely relieved when I spoke with him. His biggest concern as was our's, was the welfare of those children," Lt. Ed Gritzner said.
Police said they have never responded to any sort of domestic situation at the family's home in Lake Geneva. They did say Michalene Melges requested extra watch at the home in April after arguing with the boys' father.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.