Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm Assuming This Mom Was Overwhelmed..(?)

I was horrified this week when I first saw this story on my local news . . . 38 year old Bonnie Sweeten, of Feasterville, Pennsylvania, called 911 to report that when she stopped after she was rear-ended, she and her 8 year old daughter Julia were kidnapped and being held in the trunk of a car. They were then pronounced missing and massive hunt began. I saw the AMBER ALERT at the bottom of my TV screen. Her SUV was found 25 miles away that evening, with no sign of Bonnie or Julia. Yesterday, her ex-husband (who she was reportedly on good terms with) pleaded for their safe release on the Today show.

I thought: what is this world coming to? You can't even stop after a traffic accident, for fear of being kidnapped?

Several inconsistencies arose with the her multiple 911 calls, cell phone tower pings vs. the location where she stated the accident happened, the time stamp of a parking ticket found on her car, et. cetera, but the police and FBI refused to speak further, saying they were focused on finding them safe and sound.

Well, they were found safe and sound. AT DISNEY WORLD. Instead of being kidnapped, Bonnie concocted that bizarre story, withdrew $12,000 in cash, and booked plane tickets under false names and flew to Orlando, checking into the Grand Floridian resort at Disney World.

As a reward for her mysterious trip, she is in custody and is being charged with identity theft (for using a co-worker's ID to book plane tickets) and making false police reports. Today she faces an extradition hearing, where she will likely be returned to Pennsylvania. The little girl's father (Bonnie's ex) is flying to Florida this morning to be reunited with his daughter.

The question is - why did she do it? She was a married mother of 3 (in addition to Julia, she had two other daughters: an 8 month old and a 15 year old). Friends who spoke to TV reporters said she was on good terms with her ex husband, who lived nearby. (They divorced in 2003). Her ex-husband said she was a great mother who was very involved with her kids' schools and activities. Her current husband spoke on TV this morning and seemed clueless as to her motives. He wanted her to know that he and the rest of her family will support her.

I have to admit, I've had fleeting thoughts of impusively taking off - just jumping in the car and driving away. These thoughts float into my head when the baby screams and won't stop, or on nights where I've gotten very little sleep. Of course I would never act on it . . I view these thoughts as a kind of fantasy, like winning the lottery. I think....what if I just went somewhere for a few days by myself? Of course I'd come back....but sometimes a break just sounds so wonderful.

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds. Whatever the outcome, I'm relieved this mom and her little girl were not harmed. What a weird story!

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