A Waterville woman wanted for allegedly abducting two of her children on Thursday was arrested in South Carolina late Saturday night.
BethMarie Retamozzo was arrested while at a rest stop off Interstate 95 in Hendersonville, S.C., by the South Carolina Highway Patrol at 10:15 p.m., according to Waterville Police Chief Joe Massey.
The two children, Joslyn Retamozzo, 7, and Joel Retamozzo, 6, along with Retamozzo’s 2-year-old daughter, over whom she had custody, are all safe and unharmed.
“She was taken into custody without incident and her three children that were with her are fine,” Massey said.
Massey said Retamozzo will have an extradition hearing in South Carolina before the Kennebec district attorney and Waterville police work out on how to get her back in Maine. She faces two counts of felony criminal restrain by a parent.
Hendersonville, which is about 50 miles outside of Charleston, S.C., is over 1,100 miles from Waterville.
Massey said the process was a coordinated one, involving numerous agencies along the East Coast.
“This was a very significant investigation that involved the coordination of local, state and federal officials,” he said.
Massey said they were able to track Retamozzo periodically through cellphone messages.
“As a result of cellphone records and other investigative information, we were able to start tracking her movements,” Massey said.
Retamozzo was communicating with relatives and friends in New York and Florida, Waterville police detective Sgt. Bill Bonney said, but he wouldn’t say which family members.
Bonney said the children are in custody of South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and they are in contact with Maine authorities and the legal guardian of the two Waterville kids.
Bonney also said that a Maine DHHS supervisor, whose name he would not release, allowed Retamozzo to drive her two children to a playground during a Thursday visitation because the supervisor intended to follow Retamozzo’s van. Bonney said that Retamozzo was able to hurry her children into her vehicle and leave before the supervisor could pack up.
Massey said that a communication center was set up in Waterville, involving local, state and federal agencies, which was extremely helpful in the process.
“The new police department was able to house multiple agencies and a significant and large investigation in a comfortable environment,” he said. “That worked very, very well for us.”
Jesse Scardina — 861-9239