Back in May of this year, it was suspected that a 62-year-old woman was kidnapped from her assisted living facility in Newton. The woman, identified as June Doe, a pseudonym, went missing in the middle of the afternoon after living at the facility for only two months. All that was found of Ms. Doe at the facility was her empty wheelchair. Ms. Doe disappeared shortly after being visited by a long-time friend, according to a news report by Boston.com. Police were concerned about the safety and well being of Ms. Doe since she had recently suffered a stroke, leaving her with diminished capacity, and because she was on important medication. Ms. Doe was found two days after being taken, when she was admitted to a Boston hospital.
The friend had a warrant for his arrest issued for assault and battery of a disabled person in connection with the taking of Ms. Doe, and later stood charged with permitting abuse on an elderly person. However, the charges were dropped in September after Ms. Doe was tested as to whether she was sufficiently competent to make her own decisions and told prosecutors that she had asked the friend to help her leave the assisted care facility. She indicated that she did not wish to press charges against her long-time friend, according to a report by the Boston Globe.
Why No Kidnapping Charges?
When the story about Ms. Doe first hit the media, accusations were flying that she had been kidnapped. However, as the days wore on, the tone of the media changed. This is likely because facts came to light that the alleged victim and the alleged kidnapper had a history together. They had known each other for 36 years and have even dated in the past. Also, there was also some confusion as to whether Ms. Doe had given power of attorney to the friend, but there were numerous reports that the friend had spent a lot of time with Ms. Doe after she was admitted to the facility.
Kidnapping under Massachusetts law requires that the victim be forcibly held or taken against his or her will. As more and more facts came to light in this case, it seemed like the victim was not taken against her will. Even if she did have diminished capacity, she may have asked for the friend to take her from the facility because she was unable to leave herself. When Ms. Doe was found and she indicated that she had requested that the friend take her away from the assisted care facility, the crime of kidnapping did not fit the facts, and thus should not be charged.
Need a Kidnapping Defense Attorney?
If you face kidnapping charges, you need to get in touch with an experienced kidnapping criminal defense attorney.