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Mom who was arrested after missing teen girls found in Utah County shares her story

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UTAH COUNTY -- Two teenage girls reported missing in 2014 were found in Pleasant Grove early Sunday morning, and their mother was booked into jail on a few charges.

Michelle Wolferts said she’s been living with her daughters, 16-year-old Sydney and 15-year-old Danielle, since shortly after they disappeared in July of 2014. In the nearly year-and-a-half span, she said, they’ve jumped from home to home, finding people who would let the three stay with them.

From her perspective, she said she was doing what she saw was best for her daughters. But it was also against the law because Wolferts doesn’t have sole custody of the girls. Instead, their father, Brian Wolferts, is charged with taking care of the pair.

When a tip led police to come knocking around 3:30 a.m. Sunday at the door of the Pleasant Grove apartment they were staying in, Wolferts said she “just hugged them and told them everything would be OK.”

She said they were staying with a “family friend,” at the complex near 170 South Pleasant Grove Boulevard.

Wolferts explained why she lived with her daughters in secret, when she had reported them as missing to police in the first place.

“I feel like this amount of time was the only thing that would save them,” she said. “They needed to have some peace.”

Peace, she said, from tough family situations.

YouTube videos posted during the months spent missing make claims of abuse, and are filled with pleas by the girls to let the courts live with their mom.

“Our dad is abusive, and terrifying at times,” Sydney said. “He’s constantly lying and people believe his lies.”

Brian Wolferts said in an episode of Dr. Phil last year that what the girls said wasn’t true in those videos—and that Michelle was the one behind their claims, not them.

“It’s a 180, it’s exactly the opposite of the actual situation,” he said.

Michelle said Brian had moved to Topeka, Kansas in 2013. Several months in, she said, Danielle and Sydney came to visit her in Utah for summer break.

While there, she said they told her they didn’t want to leave, and they disappeared.

“I just want them to be happy, secure, feel like they’re listened to,” Wolferts said.

According to Orem Police, on July 11, Wolferts claimed she dropped the girls off at the University Mall in Orem at 3 p.m. and went to pick them up at 6 p.m., but they never showed up.

Police listed the girls as runaways.

“After countless hours of searching and gathering up leads, the girls were not found,” Orem police stated. “It was our opinion that Michelle was harboring the girls.”

Orem Police Lieutenant Craig Martinez said it turned out their hunch was right. They just wanted to make sure the girls were safe and sound.

“I’m sure it’s hard for them. Fifteen, sixteen years old, you don’t want to have to go through this,” he said. “We just want to do what’s best for them.”

He did say there’s a process Brian Wolferts will have to go through to get the girls back, and that it could take weeks.

“They obviously have rights, we would like them to voice those concerns to us,” he said. “Right now, they won’t say anything.”

Ultimately, he said, their job is to enforce the law, the one Wolferts broke. And that’s return the girls to the parent who has custody.

Lt. Martinez said Brian Wolferts will most likely be working with DCFS for a slow integration for the girls back into their home.

As for Michelle Wolferts, she was booked into and then bailed out of the Utah County Jail on misdemeanor charges of custodial interference, housing assistance fraud and filing a false report.

31 comments

  • TRUTH

    This witch kept her children out of school in order to hide them from their father. Now he’ll have sole custody and she will be court ordered to pay child support. I love a story with a happy ending.

    • Valerie

      What does child support have to do with any of this.? Who cares about that , it is the safety of the girls that matters not child support.. wow can tell u have issues with taking care of ur children by paying. .

  • Common Sense

    And so the other side of the story that was not told is that she was protecting them from an emotionally abusive and admitted sexually inappropriate father. He was leveraging the children to get back at a relationship gone south. Makes sense why the police drug their feet as he had admitted issues. Google the Wolsfterts before you post your bile against this family.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Too bad that mommy reported Brian’s daughters as runaways. Now mommy’s in jail. Keeping children out of school to hide them from their father isn’t the answer Common Sense.

      • Common Sense

        Although I agree that she made some poor choices how to protect her girls and did not use the legal system wisely, there is nothing I would not do to protect my children including do jail time. Again, these kids were afraid and she went into mama bear mode. I get it.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        @COMMON SENSE
        Often in a divorce or child custody matter, one side or the other raises allegations of criminal child abuse. Whether you are representing the accuser or the defendant, these allegations should raise a red flag. The first question to ask is, “on which side of the law is my client?”
        Question is why was the father granted primary custody in the first place?

      • Real truth

        Cause u guys know this family and have talked to these girls and we’re friends with the parents oh how u guys know so much by following the story
        U know nothing the Internet is full of secrets they felt love with their mom but never with their dad they were afraid

      • ANOTHERBOB

        @REAL TRUTH
        The bottom line is that mommy is now in jail where she belongs.
        And by the way honey, adults spell it “you”. Children and illiterates spell it “u”.

      • Real truth

        Honesty I don’t care that I’m a child I knew these girls and exactly what they been through.
        And again how do you know them you have no right to judge this family your oppinion is irrelevant so stop it. The mom did what she needed to do and she’ll
        only be in jail for one year so congrats you sent these girls right were they were running from. Their mom had them do online schooling and they lived with families that would help them they were in good care so stop calling her a witch she was a good mother

    • Ashton

      Honestly who wants their kids ripped from them and live in another state. I don’t blame her one bit. Divorce is very nasty and it usually the kids who get hurt.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        The girls’ father, Brian Wolferts had been awarded custody of the teens, and the judge doesn’t normally award custody to the father without substantial reasons. These children were every bit as much his as Sonja’s.

        Maybe Brian didn’t want his ex-wife to illegally rip his children away from him and report them as runaways. Good for him, and it’s good that mommy is now in jail.

    • Jimbob

      Common Sense you need to Google father’s rights in Utah or lack there of. And mothers who give children away rather then let father’s have them. Or mothers who steal children because they think they are the only ones fit to care for them. Go spew your bile some place else.

  • Nora

    The girls at 14 and 17 were quite able to make a decision about whom they stayed with. There’s a big piece missing from this story.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Leave Utah out of it Jimbob. The mother was arrested by authorities in Utah, and is sitting in a Utah jail where the decent citizens of Utah think she belongs.

      • Jimbob

        Hardly Anitherbob. The state of Utah is emphammus for turning away from these types of situations. You seem Bob what this lady has done is called “parental alienation.” She makes her children believe she is the only one capable of loving and caring for them while trashing the other parent. In this case , the father. Utah has a serious problem of allowing these types of situations. Not to mention their archaic adoption laws. Google father’s rights in Utah or Utah father’s adoption rights and then come back with an intelligent reply.

  • Amy

    I commend the mom if you feal your children are in danger as a mother you will do anything in your power to protect your children. I would have done same thing

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Do you commend the mother for keeping hus daughters out of school in order to hide them from him Amy? The good news is that this lying mother is now in jail where she belongs.

      • Runnerbuddy

        The mother did not keep her children out of school…if you do your research you will find that she had them in an online school. The mother herself is an educator and she knows how important schooling is for these young girls. The oldest sister is 20 years old, she has had time away from both of her parents to see the world and to know what type of relationships are good and what ones are wrong/inappropriate and she continues to stand by her mother. If you research their story with an open mind, you will realize that this story isn’t so black and white. I’m sure both parents acted poorly during the custody battle but when teenage girls are running away and living in hiding to escape their father….dad is probably mistreating or neglecting those girls and he needs to be investigated before his children ever are forced to live with him again. He sounds like an absolute creep based on the things I have read.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Usually the Mother is awarded primary custody. I’d look at the mother a little closer. What kind of mother keeps her children out of school to hide them from their father when should could have gone to a judge with her phony baloney abuse story?

      • Real truth

        You don’t get it another bob she had them do online schooling she kept them in school she was a teacher for crying out loud of course she cared for her daughters to have the knowledge they needed. So again look at the dad a little more closely

    • Jimbob

      I would look at the mother for mental health issues, parental alienation, and mental abuse of these girls. The father wasn’t awarded custody on a whim. It’s a long process that determines who has the children’s best interests at heart and in mind. Shame on you people supporting this woman and her criminal actions.

  • Scott

    Anyone who wants the missing piece to this story can simply Google “Wolferts blog”.. Read it, as the oldest sister says that the entire blog is her testimony of the situation.

  • Kay Holker

    I don’t know where to comment about this tragedy….Please as a news force, keep asking questions about the girls and don’t let the police turn these girls over to the father without some kind of hearing where the girls can speak up…They are so afraid of him…I KNOW this family, they lived next door to me, I know this mother, and she and the girls have the best relationship…What Brian is saying about their mother is totally wrong…..These girls must not go back to him…Talk to the older sister who left his custody the day she was 18 – and where did she go to live? With her mother while she was going to UVU. Does that sound like an abusive mother???? He is a liar, has lied to get what he wanted in the system and they kept listening to him…PLEASE stay on top of this and let these girls see their older sister and mother. They are being held away from their family. At least let them see them, or their grandmother and other relatives so the family knows that they are indeed OK…..

  • ANOTHERBOB

    @REAL TRUTH
    Reporting your children as runaways and keeping them out of school to hide them from their father is child abuse. When you get older you will discover that everything people say in a child custody case isn’t always true. Probably why a judge had given the father primary custody.

  • Veronica

    It’s sad how investigators are more interested in following court orders then investigating the teens claims of abuse. Family courts make custodial mistakes routinely and the police and other children’s advocates need to investigate the girls claims. Teens choosing to stay away from a parent and leave their hometowns indicates that something bad was happening.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Are you trying to justify the mother lying to the police, costing them time and money, in a fruitless search for two missing girls that were than classified as runaways?

  • Lynell Dangerfield

    The father is a narcissistic tyrannical man, who imprisoned his daughters in their home…they could not pursue their talents, such as art or music…they were barred from speaking to their mother, or have contact with their older sister who left home at 18. He was sexually verbal with the girls, and made them very uncomfortable, he would pinch, hit, pull hair, and abuse them physically, The father is a control freak, and has done great damage to the girls.

  • Cecilia

    I hope it takes months and months for this to get worked out, so they can age out of having to go back to him. Anyone who has been through life with this kind of disordered father knows exactly what these girls are going through. Their father wants only to seek revenge against the mother who said no to any more abuse. He doesn’t want the girls back. He only wants to control and see the mother suffer for the rest of her life. If it was available (which it’s been removed), watch the entire episode of “Dr. Phil.” You will see it in his words and tone.

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