Abduction charges are pending against two local teen-agers after the recovery last night of two children in Beaufort, N.C., where they were taken after a family member allegedly signed them out of a southeast Baltimore elementary school Wednesday.
City school spokeswoman Karen V. Poe, meanwhile, said today that administrators are reviewing the incident, but that "it does not appear staff did anything wrong."
"We have what we consider to be extremely stringent security policies in our schools," she said. "We feel this was really a very unusual incident."
Maj. Marvin Knox, a spokesman for the Beaufort Police Department, said James Allen Smith, 7, and his sister, Keisha Lynn Smith, 5, both of the 1100 block of Rayleigh Way in O'Donnell Heights, were found at 8 p.m. yesterday near a Freshway convenience store.
The police spokesman said Beaufort officers went to the convenience store after receiving a telephone call from one of the suspects.
Knox said the Smith children were in good health and were turned over to the city's Department of Social Services, which sheltered them overnight pending the arrival of their mother, Brenda Patterson, 28, who left Baltimore for Beaufort last night.
The children and their mother were expected to return home today or tomorrow.
The suspects are Emmanuel Clark, 14, of the 200 block of S. Conkling St., and his girlfriend, Toni Tennyson, 18, of the 800 block of Brunswick Road in the Marlyn Garden Apartments in Essex.
Beaufort police also charged Clark and Tennyson's brother, Timothy Wayne Tennyson, with possession of a pipe bomb that was found in their car.
They were being held in Beaufort police headquarters. Toni Tennyson was released to the custody of her mother in Beaufort.
Baltimore police spokesman Dennis Hill said plans remained uncertain pending discussions with the state's attorney's office.
But he said Clark may be charged as a juvenile, and Tennyson as an adult, probably with abduction.
Clark was described today by police as the brother of Patterson's boyfriend. Clark had been sheltered by Patterson after being thrown out of his own home on Saturday.
Hill said today that Clark is believed to have taken the children after having a disagreement with his brother.
"There are two different stories," Hill said. One said Clark had been told to move out, the other said Clark's brother had refused a request for money. "We have not settled on either one."
The children's aunt said the abduction may have been an act of revenge.
Knox said Beaufort police had been alerted by Baltimore police detectives that the Smith children were on their way to Beaufort with Clark and Tennyson and gave them descriptions of the four.
"We got a phone call around 8 p.m. . . . that the two kids taken from Baltimore were at the Freshway store," Knox said.
"We were already looking for them when we got the phone call and went to the Freshway store and picked them up," Knox said.
Donna Patterson, the aunt of the children and also a resident of O'Donnell Heights, accused Clark of taking the children to get even with her sister.
Donna Patterson said Emmanuel had been living in Brenda Patterson's home since last Saturday after his mother threw him out.
"My sister demanded he leave her home," Donna Patterson said, "and I think he took her kids to get even with her."
Wednesday morning, Brenda Patterson dropped her children off Graceland Park-Donnell Heights School in the 6300 block of O'Donnell St.
Patterson told police that her boyfriend, Miguel Villalovos Jr., 19, also of the 1100 block of Rayleigh Way, was to have picked them up at 11:30 a.m. Villalovos is the brother of Emmanuel Clark, police said.
However, when Villalovos arrived at the school, he was told that another male arrived at the school around 9 a.m. and visited with the the children before signing a form and leaving with them.
Poe, the school spokeswoman, said Clark had followed citywide school policy and signed in at the school office, leaving his name, address and the reason for his visit.
"My understanding is that he told them . . . that he wanted to see the children. There was no indication that he wanted to take the children. He was given a visitor's pass and allowed to walk to the classrooms unescorted," Poe said.
She said all city schools will flag student records in cases where there are non-custodial parents or other individuals who are not permitted access to certain children. There are also documents listing who is permitted to pick up a child in case of an
Clark then went to each child's classroom and told the teachers he was there to take them to a doctor's appointment for which they had, in fact, been scheduled. He then left the school, with the children, without checking back at the office as school policy requires.
"We do know that later in the day the [mother's] boyfriend did come to pick them up and take them to a doctor's appointment," Poe said. That was when the family realized something was wrong.
Patterson, Villalovos and others searched for the missing children for several hours before notifying city police.
Believing the missing children might be part of a domestic situation, police questioned the children's father, Thomas E. Smith, a construction worker who lives in East Baltimore, who proved he was working in Montgomery County when the children were taken and denied arranging for them to be taken from school.
Yesterday, a school employee identified Clark, whom she knew, in a photograph as the person who took the children out of school.
After police contacted people in O'Donnell Heights who knew Clark, Hill said, they went to Essex, where people reported seeing Tennyson and Clark leave Wednesday in a car.
The Essex sources were unable to say whether two children were with them.
In Essex, police also learned that Tennyson had grandparents in Shrewsbury, Pa.
Shrewsbury police interviewed the grandparents, Hill said, and were told that Tennyson had called earlier to tell them she was in Beaufort, at her mother's home.