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Mother who abducted two sons appears in Los Angeles court

A mother who was arrested on suspicion of abducting her own sons had her bail set at $500,000.
April 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Slovak mother who was arrested on suspicion of abducting her own sons and living a life on the run in Europe for more than a year appeared in a Los Angeles court Friday.

A judge raised Maria Pfeifer's bail from $100,000 to $500,000. The Slovakian mother of two boys was brought back to the U.S. in handcuffs Thursday, after being arrested in France for abducting her children and trying to evade authorities in Europe for 18 months.

She had registered her oldest son under a false name. She also let both sons grow their hair long and referred to them using girls' names, said Deanne Castorena, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney.

"She had attempted to return to the children's school after they had been recovered and after her arrest, in what we believe was an effort to re-abduct them," Castorena added.

In June 2012, Maria Pfeifer was allowed to take the two half-brothers on a 10-day trip to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where she is from.

Father Larry Hummel said Pfeifer told him the kids were sick and needed to come back after another two weeks on July 13. But then she "fell off the radar," he said.

Pfeifer was eventually arrested in France in December 2013. The boys are now under the full custody of their respective fathers. Both fathers have restraining orders against Pfeifer for fear of another abduction.

Pfeifer's attorneys argued she is not a flight risk because she has been cooperating with law enforcement since she was arrested. They also say she took good care of her sons.

"This wasn't a matter of a young lady taking the law into her own hands. She was desperate, and she felt that she needed to do what she did," said Alan Eisner, Pfeifer's defense attorney.

Eisner added: "Maria desperately, with every bone in her body, wants to be with her boys."

Pfeifer's arraignment was postponed until April 23. If convicted, she could spend nearly four years in state prison.


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