Mom, Daughters Dug Hole to Hide

Philly mom and missing daughters were living in a hole mom dug in the sand.

A 10-year old girl from Philly was found wandering a mall in Ft. Lauderdale, begging for food.

She told police she'd been waiting two days for her mom and younger sister to return to the hole in the sand they'd been using as a home-- dug by the mom, who kidnapped her daughters weeks ago from their Philadelphia foster home, according to police.

On Friday, child protective services workers from Philadelphia were on their way to Ft. Lauderdale to pick up that 10-year old and bring her back to her foster home.

Tammy Kongkham, 35, and her two girls hid in that pit in the sand beneath a beach playground for at least two weeks, often going days without food, police said.

"They could hear the kids playing and laughing while they were underneath them," said Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman Yvette Martinez.

Their home was only a few feet high, so they were not able to stand or really sit up, Martinez said.

The mom would leave only to gather food, but sometimes they would go a day or two without eating.

A police officer found 10-year-old Kelley Kongkham begging for food at the Galleria mall in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 4.

At first, she told investigators she was 18, waiting for her family to arrive from New Jersey.

After more questioning she told investigators about her missing mother and sister and took them to the playground to show them how she'd been living.

Kongkham and her 8-year-old daughter, Kimberly, have been seen throughout Broward County.

Investigators believed the mother and daughter had changed their appearance and were wearing their hair short.

Tammy Kongkham faces unlawful flight to face prosecution with the FBI, kidnapping charges in Philadelphia, and a child abuse charge in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said.

Authorities say the children, who lived with Kongkham after she divorced in 2003, were removed from her custody in the fall because she was not sending them to school, Philadelphia police said.

Alicia Taylor, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Human Services, said the children were then placed in foster care.

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