LODI, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — Two boys who went missing from northern New Jersey were found safe in South Carolina early Saturday, while their father was accused of abducting them and killing his estranged wife.

As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, John Jordan, 47, was in custody Saturday in South Carolina. He has been charged with one count of murder, and one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Bail will not be set until Jordan appears in New Jersey.

Jordan’s sons – Nicholas, 8, and Anthony, 7 – were abducted after their mother, Tracey Jordan, was stabbed to death.

A past photo showed Tracey Jordan, 39, as a happy mother with the joys of her life in her sons. But the picture has been shattered by violence.

Tracey Jordan’s devastated loved ones were not ready to talk the day after her murder. But friends said John Jordan, her estranged husband, and threatened to kill her before.

“He threatened to do this two months ago,” said Marie DeJulia, Tracey Jordan’s friend. “He passed a comment about doing it – ‘If I can’t be with her, she’s not going to be with nobody else.’”

Friends of the victim told 1010 WINS’s Roger Stern that Tracey Jordan was scared of her husband.

“She was afraid of what he was going to do to her and her children,” the friend said.

He had hit her several times, and he was angry that their divorce was about to be finalized, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

John Jordan is now accused of stabbing his estranged wife to death in her Lodi apartment on Friday, and then taking their two young sons from school – setting off a frantic five-state manhunt.

“Supposedly he came and stabbed her seven times and went over to the school and said they had a dentist appointment and the school let him take the kids,” Marie DeJulia said.

Police issued an AMBER alert to find the boys. They were finally found early Saturday morning several hundred miles away in South Carolina, while John Jordan was taken under arrest near a relative’s home.

Authorities had initially believed the two boys were in immediate danger.

In an effort to flee the area following the homicide, Jordan traveled south in Tracey’s 2012 Honda Accord, authorities said. He was found with the assistance of the FBI surveillance was established at locations in South Carolina and California were relatives of Jordan were living, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.

Jordan was arrested without incident, the boys were found safe in the vehicle.

Back in Lodi, the woman’s death has left friends and neighbors wondering “why?’

“It’s just real shocking,” Jerome Hart said.

Hart had no sympathy for John Jordan.

“I’m glad that he got caught. They should bring the death penalty right away for him,” Hart told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

“I’m just glad that they found them, and if it’s the father that did it, they need to put away,” said a neighbor named Michael.

Meanwhile, neighbors said they remember seeing Anthony and Nicholas playing in the courtyard, and wondered who will now take care of them.

“The kids were gorgeous – the little boys were so cute,” one woman said.

Tracey Jordan had been interviewed by CBS 2 in March for a story about school security in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings.

“She was an amazing person; an amazing mother,” DeJulia said. “She was just a very good person; a good friend.”

In addition to murder charges, John Jordan was also facing fugitive charges Saturday. Relatives said the boys were in protective custody in South Carolina, while their father will be brought back to New Jersey next week.

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