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Women who took grandson charged; Police in Georgia say they kidnapped boy


The two grandmothers of a 9-year-old boy have been charged with kidnapping because they brought their grandson back to Anne Arundel County from Georgia where his mother lay hospitalized.

Vivian Franklin of Annapolis and Margaret Jordan of Lothian say through an attorney that they drove to Valdosta, Ga., last week to care for their shared grandchild. They say that nodding through her respirator, the boy's mother, Franklin's daughter Sylvia Ducree, gave them permission to take him to Anne Arundel County.

Ducree remains in the hospital.

"These two woman have never been in trouble and are trying to do the right thing for their grandson and end up being hauled to prison," said Carroll McCabe, the attorney for 58-year-old Franklin. "This is every person's worst nightmare; it could have been your grandmother."

Valdosta police charged the grandmothers with kidnapping after the child's stepfather, Kevin Ducree, told police they'd driven the boy back to Maryland after they said they were taking him out to eat.

On Friday, Annapolis police arrested Franklin on a kidnapping charge at her home in the 1400 block of Tyler Ave. The maternal grandmother, who was considered a fugitive, spent the weekend at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center and was freed Tuesday on $5,000 bond. Franklin plans to waive her right to extradition to Georgia.

She has worked as a housekeeper in Annapolis for more than 20 years. Her mother worked for the same family. She has no criminal record.

Her grandson, DeMario Harrod, and his mother lived with her before moving to Georgia three years ago.

With her daughter in intensive care suffering from kidney and liver failure, Franklin planned to take the bus to Georgia last week. But Jordan, DeMario's paternal grandmother, agreed to drive her instead.

When they got there, the grandmothers grew concerned about the boy, said McCabe. DeMario's sister, they discovered, had been taken from the home and put into a juvenile detention facility for truancy.

Instead of surrendering to police in Anne Arundel and facing extradition, Jordan has left by car with her son, the boy's father, to surrender to Valdosta police. She is a home nurse and caretaker.

The grandmothers surrendered the boy at the office of Marcus Slowiak, Jordan's attorney, in Annapolis late last week. County police gave DeMario to the Department of Social Services, which plans to return him to Georgia.

DeMario has accused his stepfather of abuse, McCabe says, so the boy will not be returned to his care. Georgia social workers will see that the boy is cared for while his father applies for custody.

"I think it is a complete overreaction on the part of the Georgia authorities," said Slowiak. "They could not confirm whether the mother gave permission."

Pub Date: 2/11/99

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