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December 18, 2010 permalink

On September 28 1953, six-year-old Bobby Greenlease was taken from his Catholic school in Kansas City by a woman impersonating his aunt. A few days later, the family received a ransom demand for $600 thousand (in a day when a new car cost two thousand dollars). The father, businessman Robert C Greenlease, paid the ransom, the largest ever up to that time. The boy was not returned. The kidnapers, Carl Hall and Bonnie Heady were caught within a few days. The inhumanity of the crime shocked the nation, a shock expressed through the legal system 81 days after the crime by putting the kidnappers to death in the Missouri gas chamber.

In one generation the meaning of kidnapping has been turned on its head. Today social workers who are kidnappers in substance, but not in law, are immune from prosecution. Kidnapping charges are instead directed toward parents, when they try to exercise their normal responsibilites. Today's example is from Jay New York, where parents James Drake and Maria Trombley took their baby girl from her foster home on July 2 and fled to Tennessee. They were arrested two days later and returned to New York. Maria has been released temporarily while she is too pregnant to flee again.



Maria Trombley

Mother released from jail for now

Facing 25 years on felony kidnapping, burglary charges

ELIZABETHTOWN - Maria Trombley will be released from jail, and a hearing to dismiss her baby-kidnapping case has been pushed back two months.

Trombley, 23, of Plattsburgh, has been indicted on felony kidnapping and burglary charges for allegedly breaking into her then-five-month-old daughter's foster home in Jay and taking her. She could face a maximum of 25 years in state prison plus five years' post-release supervision on the kidnapping charge, a Class B felony.

The father of the child, James Drake, 24, of Morrisonville, also broke into the foster mother's home with Trombley to take their daughter Naomi Drake. He pleaded guilty to custodial interference as a Class E felony recently. The Essex County district attorney's office is recommending six months in county jail and five years' probation for him.

Reginald Bedell, Trombley's lawyer, said at Thursday afternoon's hearing before county court Judge Richard Meyer that the DA's office has offered to allow Trombley to plead to attempted burglary, a Class D violent felony, and first-degree custodial interference. Bedell said he thought his client should be allowed to plead to the same charges as Drake, saying he saw no difference between their conduct.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Langey said both had been offered the same sentence. However, Langey said Trombley's conduct during the break-in was different. The DA's office wouldn't provide a copy of the indictment Thursday afternoon, but Langey said in court that Trombley allegedly used force during the break-in and Drake didn't, and that the victim listed in count four of the indictment is a 5-year-old child.

Bedell had subpoenaed two witnesses for the "Clayton hearing," a hearing to dismiss charges in the interest of justice. One, Drake's mother who lives in Texas, couldn't appear. The second was Drake, who Bedell said has been dodging his subpoenas. Bedell says Drake is afraid his testimony could negatively impact his pending sentencing.

The DA's office didn't object to Trombley's release on her own recognizance. She is eight months pregnant, and Langey said this would make it difficult to flee, as she and Drake did in July after they allegedly kidnapped Naomi.

The terms of release include orders of protection for James and Brenda Rushia, Naomi's guardians when she was taken. Trombley can only visit Naomi under the supervision of Ernest and Valerie Drake, Naomi's current guardians.

The Clayton hearing was delayed to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 24.

Source: Adirondack Daily Enterprise