PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A kindergartner abducted from her school was missing for six hours before her family learned she was gone, witnesses testified Monday as a young woman’s kidnapping and sexual assault trial opened.
Former child care worker Christina Regusters, 21, is the lone person charged in the brazen attack, although the defense has said others must be involved. The little girl herself believes she was attacked by a man, because that’s what she was told when blindfolded, a prosecutor said.
“This is the man your mommy sold you to,” the girl was told earlier as she was shown a cellphone photo, according to Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien.
The woman who signed the girl out of her classroom had donned a Muslim veil and floor-length khamir to pose as the child’s mother at Bryant Elementary School on Jan. 14, 2013.
The substitute teacher testified that the pair seemed to enter the classroom together as the class ate breakfast. He later asked her to sign the girl out at the office, but the woman said she had already done so, substitute teacher Reginald Littlejohn testified.
The woman apparently was never asked for identification at the front door, a violation of school security rules. The girl’s family has a lawsuit pending against the school district, which did not realize the girl was gone until a worker for her after-school program came to pick her up at the end of the day.
“She is an outstanding, wonderful little youngster, who has sustained just the most terrible, lifelong, devastating injuries, both physical and emotional,” family lawyer Thomas Kline said Monday.
The girl was stuffed into a laundry bag as she was carried into a west Philadelphia home, where she heard a talking bird, one of several clues that led police to Regusters, O’Brien said. She was sexually assaulted with an unknown object, and later abandoned the next morning on a playground, wearing only a T-shirt, the prosecutor said.
“I’ve been stolen,” she told a man who found her crying under a slide.
As the girl was held captive overnight, her mother “was living every parent’s worst nightmare,” O’Brien said. “Why? Why would a 19-year-old female do this?”
Regusters had been suspended from her job at an off-site program the child attended after school, and had earlier molested a young female relative, O’Brien said.
Defense lawyer W. Fred Harrison Jr. said his client had been physically assaulted by her father as a girl, and raped by an unknown assailant in 2012.
However, he asked the jury not to “let sympathy come in and cloud your judgment” for either the victim or his client. And he noted that witnesses at the school described the intruder as 5-foot-10 and pregnant, while the victim initially said she had dark skin. That description later changed to a lighter complexion — which his client has — during a second police interview, he said, suggesting undue influence.
Jurors will hear allegations that Regusters had searched online for information about destroying DNA evidence — her DNA was found on the girl’s T-shirt — and buying Muslim clothing.
They also will hear from the now 7-year-old victim.
“She has told her story many times,” Kline said. “I have no doubt she will rise to the occasion when she is called to testify.”
Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
(Photo Source: AP)
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25