Philadelphia Child Kidnapping: Teen daycare worker charged in abduction, rape of 5-year-old girl

A Philadelphia women was arrested after a 5-year-old girl aided police in locating the home where she was kidnapped
CBS Philly
A Philadelphia women was arrested after a 5-year-old girl aided police in locating the home where she was kidnapped
CBS Philly

(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - A 19-year-old daycare worker was charged Thursday in the abduction of a 5-year-old girl who was taken from her school last month. Authorities said the arrest happened after the girl aided police in locating the Philadelphia home where she was taken.

Christina Regusters was charged with kidnapping, conspiracy, aggravated assault, rape, and other offenses, said Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby. She was one of four people questioned Thursday who live in a home several blocks from Bryant Elementary School in west Philadelphia where the victim attended school. The other three were released.

Darby said Regusters worked at an after-school care program attended by the victim, who was taken out of her classroom on Jan. 14 by a woman posing as her mother. The child was found early the next morning at a playground about a mile away, wearing only a T-shirt. Police took the girl to places around the neighborhood as they searched for clues.

"The investigation is very much active and ongoing," Darby said at a news conference Thursday.

Attorney Tom Kline, who represents the girl and her mother, said the child told police there was some sort of talking bird at the place where she was taken after she was abducted, information that helped lead police to the home.

"This brave, innocent precious little girl was instrumental in leading police literally to the door of the crime," Kline said in an interview Friday. "She told them that there was a bird in the house. The bird became one of the many focal points of the investigation."

Officials said a woman wearing a black Muslim garment with her face covered by a veil posed as the girl's mother and took her out of class last month. The victim's mother wears the traditional chador and niqab.

Investigators believe the suspect and victim walked a few blocks to a home where a man was waiting. The child was blindfolded, told to remove her clothes and put on a black, adult-sized T-shirt, and then ordered to hide under a bed, authorities said. She was apparently dumped about 18 hours later at a park about a mile from her school, just outside the city, and was found by a passer-by, shivering under playground equipment.

When she was found, the girl told her rescuer, "I've been stolen."

Kline said the girl suffered "terrible, horrible injuries" and that the family was "grateful" for the arrest, but knows it isn't the end of the line.

"There is still more work to be done," he said, adding that there were clearly additional people involved. "We are watching anxiously the next developments because this is not the end of the line."

Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Child Kidnapping Case on Crimesider