NBC10Philadelphia.com- Rosemary Connors
A 19-year old Philadelphia woman is facing more than a dozen charges in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a five year old girl. NBC10's Rosemary Connors has the latest information.
A 19-year-old woman has been charged in the rape and abduction of a five-year-old girl. Police have identified the woman as Christina Regusters. According to investigators, Regusters worked at the afterschool daycare of the elementary school where the girl was abducted. They also say she had contact with the little girl prior to the abduction. Police have not yet revealed what sort of contact that was however.
Regusters is charged with criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, contact with a minor, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, interference with the custody of a child, concealing the whereabouts of a child, indecent assault, simple assault, corruption of minors and recklessly endangering another person, according to police.
Last week, investigators searched and seized items from the home on Walton Avenue and at that time questioned three of the home's residents, including Regusters, according to more than one police official.
Detectives went to the home after they'd taken the victim back to her school for a third time, hoping to jar her memory as they retraced her steps on the day of her abduction.
The evidence included DNA that links one of the four to DNA found on the victim's t-shirt, according to a law enforcement source.
On Jan. 14, the victim was taken out of William C. Bryant Elementary School at 60th and Cedar Avenue by a woman dressed in Muslim clothing. Police believed that she had been held in a nearby home where she was sexually assaulted. She was found the next morning, alone and shivering in a park in Upper Darby.
Police called the victim's mother to tell her they had four people in custody on Thursday, according to her attorney, Tom Kline.
"It appears from what is developing that there are people who are affiliated with an after-daycare center, who now appear to be prime suspects or at least persons of interest in this case," Kline said.
Police have not yet confirmed whether Regusters had any previous ties to the victim's family. They also have not yet confirmed whether Regusters is the woman caught on surveillance video dressed in Muslim clothing. They do confirm however that Regusters worked at the afterschool daycare of the school where the abduction took place.
Investigators have said the victim went through an "unspeakable experience" during her captivity. Her grandfather said she was sexually assaulted several times.
“I see a little girl that’s trying to be normal but at the same time suffering from an emotional trauma of being kidnapped and blindfolded and separated from her loved ones,” her grandfather, Imam Asim Abdur-Rashid. “She was put in a cold, dark park in the middle of the night, freezing cold, with no clothes. Every time I see her it’s like something just goes through my heart, the helplessness of not being able to do anything about the evil that was done to her.”
The search for her assailants went on for more than a month with a reward topping $100,000. The victim's father and mother were both questioned and the mother was given a polygraph test.
The abduction prompted an investigation of the school's security and two weeks after the abduction, a new principal took over after four workers, including the former principal, were disciplined.
The crime has been a constant topic of conversation in the community.
"The family really wants people to pray because she was really traumatized," said Karen Braxton, owner of Mirakles Hair Salon. "It's a sad day all the way around that someone would abduct and hurt a child."
“Everyone is concerned, surprised and hurt,” said Robin Strange-McKellar who grew up in Cobbs Creek and went to the same elementary school as the victim. “I didn't think that in my day, something like that would have occurred.”