Children found safe after AMBER Alert issued

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C. - Eyewitness News spoke to the grandfather of two kids police said were abducted by their own father Thursday morning.

Dennis Matthew Penny, 37, faces charges of burglary and kidnapping in Chesterfield County.

Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker said Penny kicked in the door of his wife's family's home in Ruby, S.C. and grabbed his 5-year-old son Dennis Penny III and 2-year-old daughter Grace Penny.

Parker said Penny and his wife are going through a divorce. He said he believed Penny, who's ex-military, could be armed and unstable. Authorities issued an Amber Alert.

Lancaster City police officers spotted Penny in Lancaster, S.C., and were eventually able to pull him over.

But officers said he refused to get out or let the kids out.

When officers tried to pull him out, Penny took off.

They chased him to a field on Tirzah Church Road in Waxhaw, N.C.

Chopper Nine Skyzoom watched as crews took the children to be reunited with their mother.

Off camera, the kids' grandfather said Penny was a good father, but he said the military veteran was separated from his wife and the family had growing concerns about his mental health.

Friends said up until recently, Penny lived with his wife and kids in a Mount Croghan, S.C., house and they ran a daycare.

However, nobody answered when Eyewitness News knocked on the door of that house Thursday.

"I'm so happy them kids are alright. He didn't hurt them," said neighbor Mickey Smith.

Police said Thursday that Penny would stay in Union County's jail. Eventually he will head to Chesterfield County to face more charges.

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