Maligned Again

From the Associated Press:

A suburban mother tracked to Disney World after claiming she and her young daughter had been abducted by two black men and stuffed into a car trunk will be extradited from Florida and charged with making false reports and identity theft, a prosecutor said.

Bonnie Sweeten and her daughter, Julia Rakoczy, were taken into custody Wednesday night at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando, Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry said.

Henry told reporters that Sweeten borrowed a co-worker's driver's license and presented it as her own when she bought an airline ticket in Philadelphia and flew to Orlando with her 9-year-old daughter.

They had minimal luggage and the hotel was paid through Friday, Henry said. Sweeten had withdrawn about $12,000 from several bank accounts over recent days, but authorities were investigating whether that money had been stolen.

''We believe that there were some domestic concerns with her husband and some financial concerns as well,'' Henry said.

In the frantic 911 calls, Sweeten, said two men had bumped her 2005 GMC Denali, carjacked her and stuffed her in the trunk of a dark Cadillac. She implied that her daughter was with her in the trunk, according to Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore, who listened to tapes of the calls.

Sweeten, who is white, described her assailants as black but otherwise gave few details about their appearance, Vanore said.

''It was pretty generic,'' he said.

Police found inconsistencies with her story from the start, and noted that they could not find witnesses on the busy road in Upper Southampton Township who saw an abduction. The Denali was found early Wednesday on a downtown Philadelphia street, about 20 miles away, with a parking ticket issued shortly after the calls were made. Police knew the 911 calls were made in the same area.

Sweeten has two other daughters, a 15-year-old from a prior marriage and an 8-month-old with her current husband, a landscaper. Julia Rakoczy attended elementary school in Bensalem until she was withdrawn from classes May 1, said Susan Harder, an administrative assistant with the Bensalem Township School District.

Her ex-husband and the 9-year-old girl's father, Tony Rakoczy, described Sweeten on NBC's ''Today'' show as a good mother. He declined to comment to The Associated Press.

A man at Sweeten's home refused to comment Wednesday and asked reporters to leave.

Neighbors said the family had lived in their relatively new development for about two years.

Sweeten, 38, of Feasterville, is listed as a director of a New Hope-based charity called The Carlitz Foundation, run by lawyer Debbie Carlitz. The charity's stated goal is raising money for autism research and for people in Burma. Carlitz did not return e-mail or phone messages Wednesday night.

''Bonnie was a very, very organized person,'' said Susan Cordeiro, secretary of the parent-teacher group at Belmont Hills Elementary School in Bensalem, which Julia had attended. ''She was at every meeting, she was very involved. ... She's on top of her game all the time, even when she was pregnant.''

She's organized, involved, a good mother . . . . and a racist. All right, so she felt there were some issues between her and her husband. But couldn't she have said she was kidnapped by white men???

All I can say is, thank goodness the authorities were suspicious from the beginning and didn't start insanely questioning every black man they saw, which has happened in the past, most notably in the Charles Stuart case over in Boston in the Eighties. I'm sick and tired of seeing black men blamed in attempts to cover up wrongdoing.


PatriciaW said...

My son told me about this one, which made me realize he's starting to pay attention to this stuff, as he should since he could one day be a victim of this nonsense.

Sad commentary on a portion of our society.

PatriciaW said...

And while she was running around in FL, who had her 8-month old? Is she going to be charged with child neglect or endangering the welfare of a minor among other things?

bettye griffin said...

Patricia, I can empathize with you. I never stop worrying about my stepson's safety.

Good point about the baby. She's with her dad now, but one does wonder where she was when her mom took off.

We heard last night that she's accused of stealing large sums, some of it from her own family members. No charges have been filed as of now. And no mention of who she pointed the finger at.

Phyllis said...

Losers have been pulling this "it as a black man" stuff so long, I think it's becoming a red flag to cops.

Didn't Susan Smith pull the same thing when she killed her kids?

On a side note, your new photo is GORGEOUS!!!!

DonnaD said...

My first thought was Susan Smith, the mother who killed her two kids then said a black man carjacked her and took the kids.

I wondered how she managed to make a call. If someone had kidnapped her, wouldn't they have made sure she didn't have a phone on her?

I'm sure the baby was being cared for and when she "disappeared" the baby was looked after by the dad.

At this point, both fathers should immediately seek full custody of their children and limit if not end her parental rights. She's several potatoes short of a full sack.

Poor little girl thought mommy was taking her on a surprise trip to Disneyworld only to get caught up in the drama. The girl hadn't been in school for a month - a huge red flag. If they hadn't found her when they did, do you suppose this would have turned into something more tragic? I think so.

bettye griffin said...

Hi Phyllis and Donna,
Yes, this incident is very reminiscent of Susan Smith. Fortunately, the police in South Carolina were also suspicious of her story and did not start rounding up every black man in sight. In the Charles Stuart case, the police did believe him, and black men all over Boston were harrassed and questioned unmercifully (this case, possibly not as well remembered after 20 or so years, involved a husband who shot and killed his pregnant wife and unborn son and blamed it on the all-purpose two black guys; it turned out he wanted the insurance money to open a restaurant. When the police were closing in on him he jumped off a bridge.)

LOL, Donna, about a kidnapped woman allowed to keep her cell phone.

Glad you like my new photo, Phyllis!