A 19-year-old daycare worker has been charged in the abduction of a 5-year-old girl from her Philadelphia elementary school last month according to the Associated Press. The girl was found thanks to the help of a talking bird.
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Christina Regusters was formally charged with kidnapping, rape of a child, aggravated assault, conspiracy, among other offenses and is being held on $4 million bail according to District Attorney Seth Williams in a press statement.
Regusters worked at an after-school care program which the victim attended. The child was taken out of her classroom on Jan. 14 by a woman posing as he mother according to Philadelphia police Captain John Darby. The woman told school officials she was there to take her daughter out for breakfast. School policies were not followed in releasing the child according to Darby.
"The investigation is very much active and ongoing," Darby said at a news conference Thursday.
Investigators believe the suspect and victim then walked on a few blocks to a home where a man was waiting for them. The child was then blindfolded, told to remove her clothes, put on a black, adult t-shirt, before being ordered to hide under a bed according to the Associated Press.
Around 18 hours later at a park a mile from her school, a person found the girl shivering under playground equipment. When the rescuer asked the girl what had happened, the girl responded "I've been stolen."
Tome Kline, an attorney who represents the girl and her mother, stated that the kid told police there was a talking bird at the house she was taken to, information that helped officers find the correct home.
"This brave, innocent precious little girl was instrumental in leading police literally to the door of the crime," Kline said in an interview according to the Associated Press. "She told them that there was a bird in the house. The bird became one of the many focal points of the investigation."
Kline said in a press statement that the girl went through "horrible injuries" and that while the family is "grateful" for the arrest, more work needs to be done.
"There is still more work to be done," Kline said adding that there were clearly additional people involved according to the Associated Press. "We are watching anxiously the next developments because this is not the end of the line."