Twins' Birth Mother Gets Probation, Fine in Kidnapping Case
Posted December 18, 2007 5:56 a.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2007 10:42 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A birth mother who kidnapped twins from their adoptive family in Apex was sentenced Tuesday to five years' probation and other penalties.
Allison Quets received credit for the 8½ months she already had spent behind bars.
She must go through a mental-health treatment program, surrender her passport and check in with a probation officer when she travels in the United States, the federal court ruled.
She will also have no contact with the twins or their adoptive parents unless a judge grants it. If she is granted visitation in a separate state civil case, it will have to be supervised. A custody hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
Quets must pay a $15,000 fine to the government and $180 in restitution to the adoptive family for a hotel stay and meals when they traveled to Canada, which is where Quets took the twins when she fled.
She took the then-17-month-old twins on Dec. 22, 2006, from their adoptive parents, Kevin and Denise Needham, of Apex, and traveled to Canada. Authorities apprehended her in Ottawa, Ontario.
The Needhams have paid more than $200,000 in adoption expenses fighting Quets to retain custody. The court decided civil fees did not apply in the case, however.
Friends of the Needhams said the judge's ruling was one of the best for which they could have hoped.
"I am pleased with how it went. I think that with the probation the judge gave her that she will at least be watched," said Kat Moncol.
Quets' attorney, Jim Craven said there were still "lots of unanswered questions" after the sentencing Tuesday.
Quets pleaded guilty in September to two counts of international parental kidnapping. She claims she signed adoption papers under duress and was ill after suffering medical problems during her pregnancy.
After she left jail in September, Quets talked about seeing her children again.
"Of course, I want to see them again, more than anything," she said.
In November, Raleigh attorney Michael S. Harrell filed a request in Wake County on behalf of Quets, stating the adoption in 2004 was contingent upon her "retaining a continuing and familiar role" in the lives of the children, Holly Ann and Tyler Lee, after the adoption was finalized.
The Florida First District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling terminating Quets' parental rights in the case.
Craven said North Carolina does have jurisdiction, however, because the adoptive family lives in Apex.
"I don't know anybody that's had a case like this. This case is unique," he said.
The Needhams have not spoken publicly about the case. According to a Web site created by friends of theirs, the confidential nature of adoptions prevents the Needhams from correcting "misinformation."
An attorney for the Needhams filed a motion late Tuesday asking to seal the file on the visitation complaint and to have the courtroom closed to any proceeding.