August 29, 2013

Fairfield woman who fled with kids appears in court

A diary entry says BethMarie Retamozzo had thoughts about killing herself and her children

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- A woman accused of abducting her two children recently wrote in a diary that she thought of killing herself and her children and that the devil had told her to molest her children, according to a police affidavit.

click image to enlarge

BethMarie Retamozzo, left, stands with Lisa Whittier, attorney representation for her arraignment via video conference with Judge Charles Dow. at the Waterville District Court on Wednesday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

Reporters from a variety of media were at the video conference arraignment today for BethMarie Retamozzo.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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The woman, BethMarie Retamozzo, entered no plea Wednesday on two charges of criminal restraint by a parent during her first appearance in Waterville District Court. She does not have custody of the two children.

The details of the diary, which police learned about from the children's grandmother and legal guardian, Pamela Taylor, are described in an affidavit filed in court Wednesday. It was those diary details that raised concern about the safety of the children when they were reported missing, Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said.

"We looked into these allegations, and it was enough for us to get a warrant and convince us that there was a danger to the kids and a need to get them back as soon as we could," Massey said.

Retamozzo, who appeared in Waterville District Court via video from the Kennebec County jail, said she understood her rights and the charges against her.

The affidavit filed Wednesday also gave further details of how she was able to flee the state with the two children.

Retamozzo, 34, of Fairfield, met with Jennifer Dore, a family acquaintance and court-appointed supervisor, at Ace Tire in Waterville before going to pick up the two children from the home of Retamozzo's mother, Pamela Taylor, the children's legal guardian, according to the affidavit.

Retamozzo left her gray Nissan Quest minivan at Ace Tire and the two women rode together to pick up the children.

They returned to Ace Tire to get Retamozzo's van and decided that because of space and the number of car seats needed, it would be easier for the children to ride with Retamozzo in her van to the park where the visit was scheduled to take place, according to the affidavit.

Both cars were leaving Ace Tire when Retamozzo sped off and Dore was unable to keep up, according to the affidavit. Dore went to the park, but Retamozzo did not show up. Retamozzo's two cellphones were turned off, and when Dore could not locate or contact her, she returned home. Dore said she assumed Retamozzo would be back later. The visit was scheduled to be over by 5 p.m., according to the affidavit.

According to police, Dore, 37, of Benton, did not report the 2:30 p.m. abduction and spoke with authorities only when police contacted her five hours later. Police summoned and charged her with two counts of endangering the life of a child Tuesday in connection with the incident.

Retamozzo returned to Maine on Monday from South Carolina, where she had been held since authorities there found her asleep in her van with the two children at a rest stop on Interstate 95. She is being held at the Kennebec County jail on $25,000 cash bail or $100,000 worth of property.

Conditions of her release include that she have no direct or indirect contact with the children, Joel and Joslyn Retamozzo, or Pamela Taylor; that she provide the sheriff's department with an address where she will reside; that she adhere to a curfew between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.; and that she not leave the state.

Retamozzo voluntarily gave custody of the two children to her mother in 2009 when she wanted to go into the military, according to court records. Massey said he didn't know why she has had trouble regaining custody of the children, although a recent decision by Judge John Alsop in Somerset County Probate Court states that Retamozzo had given false statements to authorities and lacked credibility when testifying in a custody hearing. The decision, filed Aug. 8, concludes that the children's grandparents would continue to hold guardianship.

Criminal restraint by a parent is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

On Wednesday, Retamozzo said she had no questions, and Justice Charles Dow wished her good luck. Her next court appearance is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 29 at Kennebec County Superior Court.

Rachel Ohm —  612-2368
rohm@mainetoday.com

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