(CBS/WCBS/AP) NEW YORK - Police are continuing to search for Shanel Nadal, the 28-year-old mother who allegedly abducted her eight children from a Queens foster care facility during a visit. Now the FBI has joined the investigation.The children range in age from 11 months to 11 years old.
The three foster mothers who cared for the eight children in three separate homes are just as baffled as the police are in the search for Nadal.
"She didn't lead on that there was any problem - that's why it's so shocking. It's devastating that this really occurred," foster mother Barbara Emanual told CBS station WCBS.
The Payne siblings, seven brothers named Nephra and one sister named Nefertiti, spent the last several years living in foster care until Monday.
Nadal lost custody following allegations of abuse by the children's biological father, 34-year-old Nephra Payne.
According to police, the children's biological mother snuck them out of the Forestdale Child Agency in Forest Hills during what was supposed to be a supervised group visit.
Sources have said Nadal and the children's father once lived in South Carolina and may have headed there, but they may also still be hiding in New York reports the station.
Emanuel spent the last six months caring for Nefertiti as her foster mother, but says the little girl was much more.
"We share the same birthday so there was a connection with Nefertiti and I," Emanuel told WCBS. "I loved her like she was my own."
The ACS also said that it had "initiated an investigation to determine how this incident could have occurred during a supervised visit."
The statement went on to say that "we have during supervised visits, an agency staff member should be present at all times while still affording the family personal time together."
Nadal allegedly took them all and drove off in a 1996 black Chevy Suburban with the license plate number EXZ-5896.
"She really does love them so I don't think she will harm them," Emanuel said. "But I just would like, please, make contact, make contact."
There is no answer at the couple's apartment and police say there is no sign of them in South Carolina where they lived some years ago.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or call the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse at 1-800-346-3543