Toronto Sun

Monday, March 17, 2003

Mom charged

Disappearance of girl, 12, 'fabricated'

By SARAH GREEN, TORONTO SUN

Alexandra MacDonald is home safe and her mother faces abduction charges after the 12-year-old girl went missing for 60 hours from her grandparents' Port Colborne home.

Four adults, including Alexandra's biological mother, were arrested early yesterday after police found the girl in a bedroom of a Toronto couple's apartment just before 3:30 a.m.

"We're just very relieved and very happy," said the girl's aunt Noreen Rutter. "We're all together and we're just going to enjoy the day."

The drama began Thursday when Alexandra, who was spending March Break with her grandparents, vanished while playing hide-and-seek with a friend near their home.

The circumstances around her disappearance "appear to have been fabricated ... to allow Alexandra the ability to access her mother," said Niagara police Const. George Bench.

FULL CUSTODY

Bench said Alexandra had discussed with her mother "leaving the care of her father" before her visit to Port Colborne.

Alexandra lives in Bancroft with her father, who has full custody of the girl.

"It appears she met her mother consensually," Bench said.

From Port Colborne, Alexandra was taken to a Steeles Ave. W. apartment to stay with her mother's friends. Alexandra's mother and common-law husband were arrested at a Niagara Falls apartment early yesterday.

Beverly MacDonald, 45, is charged with abduction in contravention of a custody order and Danny Charles Smith, 45, is charged with abducting a person under 14. Both will appear in St. Catharines court today for a bail hearing.

Ian Romain, 63, and his wife, Loretta, 59, of Toronto, are also charged and will appear in court April 4.

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