Birth Mother Returns to N.C. to Face Kidnapping Charges
Posted January 19, 2007 7:08 a.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2007 11:18 p.m. EST
Allison Quets arrived about 2:30 p.m. Friday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, along with law enforcement officials. She was taken to the federal courthouse in Raleigh to face charges of international parental kidnapping.
U.S. District Judge William Webb set a Jan. 26 probable cause hearing and told Quets she faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison, one year on probation and a $250,000 fine.
Investigators said Quets, 49, was the subject of a four-day search across several states and into Canada nearly a month ago. Authorities said she didn't return the 17-month-old twins — Tyler and Holly Needham — whom she had given up for adoption to their Apex home after a scheduled visit.
A telephone tip led FBI agents to a house in Ottawa, Canada, where Quets was arrested. Despite her facing the kidnapping charges, Quets has said the children are constantly on her mind. The children have been returned to their adoptive parents, Denise and Kevin Needham.
Quets, who was handcuffed and shackled and wearing khaki green jail garb, was quiet and attentive during the 10-minute court hearing. She told Webb she has hired attorneys Dennis Sullivan and Bruce Mason to represent her and asked him to explain what would happen at the Jan. 26 hearing.
Quets is being held at the Wake County Jail until the Jan. 26 hearing, when prosecutors also plan to ask that she remain in custody until her trial.
"We're concerned with fighting the criminal charges at this point. That is first and foremost," Sullivan said after Friday's hearing. "Obviously, she's still seeking to have her children returned to her."
But local adoption attorney Mike Harrel said Quets' alleged actions could only hurt her case.
"It's obvious that she was caring for the children and that her intentions may have been good, but it clearly cannot help her in her contested adoption," he said.
Pat Kilbane, a Jacksonville, Fla., attorney for the Needhams, said neither he nor the couple was aware of Quets' return to Raleigh. The children are "doing amazing" since they have been returned to the Needhams, Kilbane said.