BANGOR — A Connecticut mother who was arrested at a Bangor motel Tuesday after authorities issued a multistate Amber Alert for her three missing children was ordered held Wednesday after making a court appearance by video from the Penobscot County Jail.
Jackie Morris, 32, is accused of taking her three sons without permission from their home in Vernon, Conn., where they live with their father. Morris does have visitation rights.
Judge Gregory Campbell ordered Morris to remain in custody in Maine until a June 6 hearing on whether to extradite her to Connecticut. Morris, accompanied by attorney Jeremiah Haley, appeared before the judge on a video screen in the Penobscot Judicial Center courtroom.
“I understand the allegations, but I basically was just a mom . . .,” Morris started to tell the judge before Haley stopped her and whispered in her ear.
“My client wishes to exercise her right to remain silent,” Haley said after talking to Morris.
Haley said Morris sees the charges against her “all as a misunderstanding.”
An Amber Alert was issued Tuesday morning after the boys’ father, Jason Lewis, reported them missing after Morris failed to return them after a weekend visit. The boys – 9-year-old Ryan Lewis and 7-year-old twins Dylan and Brandan Lewis – were safe when Bangor police found them with their mother at the motel, police said.
Morris was arrested on a fugitive from justice charge here after authorities in Connecticut obtained an arrest warrant there for three counts of custodial interference and three counts of risk of injury to a minor.
The boys were turned over temporarily on Tuesday to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services until their father could come to Maine to get them. Assistant District Attorney Tracy Collins Lacher said Wednesday that she did not know whether Lewis had picked up the children.
Morris recently returned to Connecticut after having lived in Maine, relatives told police. Vernon police said she appeared to be homeless and living in her car, The Associated Press reported.
Morris and Lewis were involved in a child custody case in Rockville Superior Court in Connecticut that ended in November with a joint custody agreement that called for the boys to live with their father while Morris had visitation rights, said Lewis’ lawyer, Benjamin K. Potok. Potok described the custody case as “slightly contentious,” according to The Associated Press report.
Morris was living in Southwick, Massachusetts, during the custody case last year, court records show.
Morris told the judge that she wants to fight extradition to Connecticut and hopes to be released on bail in Maine.
Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at: