The hunt for one of two girls reportedly abducted from Philadelphia by their mother ended yesterday when the mother and daughter were discovered in a shopping center near Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Tammy Kong-Kham, 35, and her daughter Kimberly, 8, were found near a shopping center in Tamarac, several miles outside Fort Lauderdale, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

The pair, who had lived in a squalid sand pit for weeks, were reported to be in good condition and were taken to the Sheriff's Office headquarters.

Kimberly was expected to be picked up by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, said a Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman, Yvette Martinez.

Kong-Kham's other child, Kelley, 10, was returned Friday night to Philadelphia, a few days after police discovered her panhandling for spare change at a glitzy mall in Fort Lauderdale.

Joe Scimeca, a former New York City detective who now works as a code enforcement officer in Tamarac, spotted the pair and recognized them from pictures that had been displayed in the media.

Alicia Taylor, a spokeswoman for Department of Human Services in Philadelphia, said agency representatives would go to Florida in a day or two to pick up Kimberly.

Taylor said both girls would be placed in a home here.

Police reported Friday that the mother and her two girls had been living in a hole dug in sand under a sliding-board play station at a playground on a Fort Lauderdale beach. They said that the mother had cast out Kelley, telling her to fend for herself, and that Kelley told police the trio lived for weeks in the ant-infested hole on whatever they could scavenge.

Kong-Kham, 35, faces kidnapping and child-endangerment charges, police said. She was being held in the Broward sheriff's custody and Kimberly was taken to Florida Child Protection Services.

The children, who lived with Kong-Kham after a divorce, were taken from her and put in foster care this fall because she had not kept them in school, officials said. Police have said the girls went with their mother without a fuss when she approached them near Juniata Park Academy on East Hunting Park Avenue.

Contact staff writer Dwight Ott
at 215-854-2797 or dott@phillynews.com.
This article contains information from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.