The three South Carolina children found after being missing for more than 18 hours have been placed in protective custody while authorities investigate their disappearance.

Colleton County Sheriff's Lt. Shane Roberts tells local media outlets that investigators believe someone put the toddlers in the abandoned mobile home where they were found.

The children, ages 2, 3 and 4, were reported missing by family members Wednesday evening. They live in a hamlet of small and mobile homes near the community of Smoaks.

The children were found in a closet of the abandoned home about 100 yards from where they had been last seen playing. Authorities say they have been interviewed at a children's center and are state social services custody.

No arrests have been made.