Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Details have emerged from a Berkeley County child abduction case after a Goose Creek Police Department incident report and several supplemental reports were released.
Two Florida women were arrested and charged after unlawfully removing a 4-year-old girl from Westview Primary School on May 2.
The child’s mother, Neely Pesognelli Blanchard, 26, and Ferdauss Rahmatullah, 25, were involved in the abduction. They drove away with the child in a car that morning and about 30 minutes later the South Carolina Highway Patrol detained them on I-26 westbound.
The child was returned safely and unharmed to her grandmother, who is her legal guardian.
When police arrived at the school at about 8:10 a.m. an assistant principal waved them down and said Blanchard had just taken her child and left in a dark-colored vehicle, according to the report.
Officers learned Rahmatullah entered the school at about 8 a.m., walked up to the sign-in desk and asked where the Head Start classrooms were. She was directed to the C hallway in the Kindergarten wing, according to the report.
Rahmatullah approached a teacher and asked for help, saying she was looking for a child that dropped her dress as she got out of the vehicle. She then spotted the child in this classroom and pointed her out. The teacher did not allow Rahmatullah to enter the classroom.
The teacher said she would give the dress to the child and Rahmatullah departed. When the teacher asked, the child said she did not recognize the dress.
The classroom door then swung open and Blanchard entered unannounced. The child yelled, “Mommy!” and ran to Blanchard, who handed the teacher several papers she said were court orders allowing her to have custody of her child, according to the report.
The teacher attempted to close the door to keep Blanchard from leaving, but Blanchard left the classroom with the child in her arms and refused to stop. The teacher tugged at Blanchard’s sweatshirt hoodie in an attempt to stop her, according to the report.
“Don’t touch me,” Blanchard said.
The teacher told Blanchard she needed to check with the main office. Blanchard replied that she had a court order, police were outside and she could talk to them, according to the report.
The teacher did not see any police officers and alerted the main office as Blanchard ran out of the front door with the child in her arms. She and the child entered a black 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by Rahmatullah.
The teacher attempted to grab the child’s arm as Blanchard attempted to shut the door. The car sped off before the door was shut. The door swung and hit the teacher in the left triceps and right hand, according to the report.
On Feb. 25 Blanchard had been placed on trespass notice from Westview Primary School after attempting to remove her child with a court order from 2011 stating she has custody, according to the report.
It was determined the school had a copy of the most recent court order, dated April 5, 2012, stating the grandmother is the sole guardian of the child.
Blanchard is charged with trespassing, disturbing school, custodial interference, conspiracy to commit custodial interference and unlawful possession of schedule four narcotics.
Rahmatullah is charged with trespassing, disturbing school, conspiracy to commit custodial interference and assault and battery first degree.
According to the Hill-Finklea Detention Center records department, both suspects were still incarcerated at press time.
A bond hearing was held for Blanchard but the judge did not set bond, which is expected to be set when she goes before circuit court, according to the records department.
For Rahmatullah, surety bonds were set at $50,000 for three of the charges and at $1,092 for the trespassing charge, according to records.
The narcotics charge against Blanchard is related to pills in her possession that require a prescription. Investigators believe she was in illegal possession of those pills.
The assault and battery charge is related to injuries a school employee received attempting to prevent the departure of the suspect vehicle. Those injuries were not life threatening.