A Philadelphia woman, 19, is being charged with the kidnapping and rape of a 5-year-old girl after she was abducted from her school and the woman pretended to be her mother.
Christina Regusters dressed herself in the same clothes the girl’s mother usually wore, which consisted of a black Muslim veil. She then took the child out of her classroom last month and told a teacher that she had already been checked out.
Regusters then walked the child to a nearby home.
Authorities are not sure what happened in the home, but they know that the girl was raped by someone. She was found the next day half-naked in a playground about a mile from the school and told someone that she had been “stolen.”
The girl also talked about a bird that would “peck her eyes out” if she didn’t remain under the bed.
The bird became a crucial part of the investigation, as the girl led investigators back to the home she was taken to. When authorities found a bird in the home, they knew it was the correct address.
Regusters was one of the four residents questioned about the abduction, three others were released.
She worked at an after-school care program the young girl went to, and is now being charged with kidnapping, rape, conspiracy, aggravated assault and several other similar offenses.
“The investigation is very much active and ongoing,” Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby said. “This brave, innocent precious little girl was instrumental in leading police literally to the door of the crime. She told them that there was a bird in the house. The bird became one of the many focal points of the investigation.”
He also explained that the girl received “terrible, horrible injuries.” They believe that Regusters led the girl back to the home where a man was waiting. The girl was then blindfolded and told to take off her clothes and hide under the bed. Someone gave her a black t-shirt to wear.
“There is still more work to be done,” Kline said. “We are watching anxiously the next developments because this is not the end of the line.”
The woman’s attorney, W. Fred Harrison Jr., insists she had no involvement in the crime.
Nelson Mandela Myers, the man who found the girl that morning, said she was screaming and hiding under a jungle gym.
“She said, ‘I don’t know. Somebody was chasing me. I ran,’” Myers said. “She said she came from South Philly. I knew something was wrong, because I knew she couldn’t have run from South Philly.”
The school district is currently investigating the matter, as the girl should not have been released from school without going through an official “sign out” procedure, which requires the person checking the student out to show ID and be on a list of verified parents or guardians.