Cobbs Creek Child Abduction Suspect Turns Down Deal - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Investigation Into 5-Year-Old's Abduction, Sex Assault

Cobbs Creek Child Abduction Suspect Turns Down Deal

Rejected deal would have sent woman to prison for 40 years



    Trial Begins for Cobbs Creek Abduction Suspect

    A woman is charged with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a five year old girl from Bryant Elementary School in Cobbs Creek last year. Christina Regusters allegedly posed as the child's mother in Muslim garb and took her from the school. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn is live at the Criminal Justice Center with more on this trial. (Published Monday, Aug. 18, 2014)

    A jury was chosen Monday to hear a graphic trial about a 5-year-old girl abducted from her kindergarten classroom, raped in a brutal attack that left permanent injuries and abandoned at a playground on a cold January morning.

    Christina Regusters is charged with kidnapping and other counts in the January 2013 abduction from the school in Philadelphia's Cobbs Creek neighborhood.

    Authorities allege that Regusters took the girl from her classroom by posing as her mother. Police say the kindergartner was assaulted and left about 18 hours later at a park in Upper Darby, Delaware County, about a mile away.

    Before jury selection even began, the first day of the trial featured a rejected plea deal.

    Cobbs Creek Abduction Trial Begins

    [PHI] Cobbs Creek Abduction Trial Begins
    Jury selection began Monday in the case of Christina Regusters who is accused of taking a young girl from her Southwest Philadelphia school.
    (Published Monday, Aug. 18, 2014)

    Prosecutors said they offered the 20-year-old a deal that included 40 years in prison if she pleaded guilty and cooperated. Regusters turned down the offer, opting to go to trial, according to reporters in the courtroom.

    Defense attorney W. Fred Harrison Jr. has said his client maintains her innocence. He said other people were involved in the abduction. The girl's family has filed a lawsuit accusing the school district of "reckless indifference."

    The brazenness of the crime stunned the city, and many of the prospective jurors questioned Monday said they had read or heard something about it. However, 12 jurors and four alternates were selected throughout the day, some of whom said they knew about the case but could judge it fairly.

    One prospective juror said the children's nonprofit where he worked reviewed its school safety plan after the abduction. The defense quickly struck him from the panel.

    Opening statements are expected Thursday, after pretrial motions and time set aside to line up witnesses, some of whom are being brought to court through the use of bench warrants, perhaps suggesting their reluctance to cooperate.

    A gag order imposed Monday prevents lawyers from commenting on the warrants.

    Trial Begins in Cobbs Creek Abduction

    [PHI] Trial Begins in Cobbs Creek Abduction
    Jury selection is set to begin Monday for a woman accused of kidnapping, sexual assault and other crimes in relation to the disappearance of a Cobbs Creek girl from her school.
    (Published Monday, Aug. 18, 2014)

    Regusters, who was 19 when she was charged, has been in custody for more than a year on $4 million bail. She worked at a day care center which the victim attended.

    Defense lawyer W. Fred Harrison Jr. hopes to unearth new evidence about the case from witnesses during the two-week trial. Bench warrants are being issued to get some of them to court. The young victim, now 7, is also set to testify.

    The girl was blindfolded during much of the 18-hour ordeal. She was found partially clothed and shivering under playground equipment, and told the person who found her, "I've been stolen."

    Philadelphia School District Sued by Abductee's Family

    [PHI] Philadelphia School District Sued by Abductee's Family
    About a year ago, a 5-year-old girl was abducted from her Philadelphia elementary school and then sexually assaulted. Her family is now suing the school district, with the School Reform Comission and teacher named as defendants.
    (Published Thursday, March 27, 2014)

    She later told police details of the house where she was held — including the presence of a talking bird — that ultimately helped them make an arrest.