Mother who triggered Amber Alert pleads not guilty - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Mother who triggered Amber Alert pleads not guilty

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BENNINGTON, Vt. -

A Manchester woman who police say abducted her 12-year-old son was back in court Friday. Patricia Kane pleaded not guilty to felony counts of unlawful restraint and custodial interference.

Police say she abducted her son, Zachary Lee, from a foster home in Sunderland. He's been in state custody since Jan. 14, when he arrived back in the U.S. For a decade, Kane and her kids lived in France. We still don't know why she lost custody.

It was only the second Amber Alert in the last decade in Vermont, and it led to Patricia Kane's arrest. But when the 49-year-old mother appeared in Bennington Criminal Court Friday, her lawyer, Stephen Saltonstall, insisted she just wanted to spend time with her kids.   

"She was just having a leisurely dinner with her children and was going to stay overnight in Hanover and then return them, so they could get to school the next day," Saltonstall.

Kane was arrested Monday after police issued an Amber Alert for her 12-year-old biological son, Zachary Lee. Later they got a tip that the pair and another child had been spotted dining at the Canoe Club in Hanover, N.H.

During Friday's court appearance, the state argued Kane's bail should remain at $200,000 because she was a flight risk due to her lack of a permanent residence in Vermont. They feared she'd flee to France.

"I spoke to her landlord. It's my understanding she has no residence and the residence had been abandoned the night Zachary Lee was abducted," Bennington County Prosecutor Erica Marthage said.

But Judge John Wesley lowered Kane's bail to $10,000 after Kane's defense argued that because her children live and go to school in Vermont and she appears to want to be near them, she is likely to stay.

"Frankly under these circumstances, it's hard to imagine Ms. Kane doesn't have every incentive now to follow the court's conditions and to appear in court," Wesley said.

Although the state tried to include information about Kane's alleged substance abuse problem, Judge Wesley said that was not relevant.

"I don't think I need to hear that. It would be one thing if the state was representing that she was arrested for driving while under the influence, but you don't have that," the judge said.

Police say Kane faces up to 10 years in jail and $30,000 in fines if convicted of both felony charges.

Kane will also need to check in daily with the Manchester Police Department and is not allowed to go to the school where Zachary and her 17-year-old daughter go. She's due back in court Feb. 14.

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