The mother of a former day care worker broke her silence the day after a jury convicted her daughter of abducting a 5-year-old girl from her Philadelphia classroom and sexually assaulting her during a brutal 19-hour ordeal.
Jurors convicted 21-year-old Christina Regusters Friday of kidnapping, aggravated assault indecent deviate sexual intercourse and other counts after deliberating for about six hours over two days.
Prosecutors said Regusters donned a Muslim dress and veil to pose as the girl's mother and take her from Bryant Elementary School in the city's Cobbs Creek section in January 2013, then posed as three different people to trick the blindfolded child. The girl was found the next morning at a cold, dark playground.
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
On Saturday, Regusters mother -- who asked not to be named due to threats -- released the following statement exclusively to NBC10. (NBC10 has removed the victim's name since the girl is the victim of sexual assault):
"I am deeply hurt and saddened about the trauma that (the girl) has suffered, no child should ever have to go through that," read the statement.
"I still believe my daughter was set up and who ever set Christina up did a very good job. My daughter did not wake up on the morning of January 14th 2013 and just decided to abduct, rape and injure (the girl). (The girl) was NEVER in my sister's house nor was the 'white' jacket hers. There was clear evidence that supported this. The DA believes that my daughter acted alone. I do not believe it. Although Christina is very intelligent, This abduction was too well planned out for the actions of a 19-year-old."
The defense had questioned whether Regusters could have acted alone. But prosecutors said she had viewed child pornography and looked up how to destroy DNA evidence.
Regusters will remain behind bars without bail awaiting sentencing later this year.