Police charge woman in kids disappearance

October 24, 2008 7:37:30 PM PDT
A woman was charged Friday in the disappearance of her two children and four grandchildren after they were found missing during a social worker's court-ordered visit to her Long Island home. Five of the children were later located - three at a relative's home in Queens and two at a home in Roosevelt, and appeared to be fine. But police and social workers were still looking for the woman's 17-year-old daughter, said Nassau County Police Detective Michael Fleming.

Emma Fequiere, 46, of Lakeview, was arrested Thursday night on charges of obstructing government administration, child endangerment and criminal contempt after she refused to reveal the whereabouts of the six children.

"She steadfastly refused to provide any information," Fleming said at a briefing to reporters.

"That's the million-dollar question," Fequiere said to reporters who asked her where the children were when she was led into police headquarters in Mineola on Friday.

She added, "Why aren't the police providing the assistance that we need?"

Fequiere was facing arraignment on the charges in First District Court in Hempstead. Her attorney did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Police also arrested Fequiere's 18-year-old son, Matthew Bates, and charged him with obstructing governmental administration. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Friday.

Fleming said a social worker was sent to the woman's home at about 6 p.m. Thursday as part of an ongoing court case. Authorities found the home had no heat or running water and electricity was being provided by a generator in the backyard. Some of the homes on the block appeared in disrepair and many had bars covering their windows.

Fequiere's 15-year-old son and two grandchildren ages 1 and 3, were located at a relative's home in Queens Friday afternoon. Police found two grandsons aged 4 and 5 at a home in Roosevelt Friday evening.

The four grandchildren are believed to be the offspring of another of Fequiere's daughters, police said.

Nassau County child welfare authorities say they have aggressively stepped up child welfare enforcement following the deaths of three young children last March, allegedly drowned by their mother in a bathtub in their Westbury apartment.

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