A 20-year-old Philadelphian day care worker was indicted this week for kidnapping a 5-year-old girl from her school by posing as her mother, raping her, and leaving her at a playground in the middle of the night barely clothed.
Christina Regusters was 19-years-old at the time of her crime, and she has been charged with eleven counts including two counts of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a child with serious bodily injury, aggravated assault, kidnapping, corruption of a minor, unlawful restraint of a minor, and several other offenses for the incident on January 14.
Regusters went to the child’s school dressed in a black burqua — a head-to-toe outer garment with a semi-transparent cloth in the face-veil portion which the victim’s mother actually wears — and wrote her name on a sign-in sheet. Regusters never showed any form of identification, and told administrators she was the child’s mother and wanted to take her out for breakfast. She then went to the child’s classroom and asked for the girl by name.
The principal of the school and four other employees have been removed following the abduction.
Regusters then walked the 5-year-old child to a nearby house — some reports say that a male was waiting inside the house. She was then blindfolded, told to remove her clothes, put on a black adult-sized T-shirt, and then ordered to hide under the bed.
At some point, the child was sexually assaulted, the police said.
The girl, now 6-years-old, reported missing shortly after the school day ended on Monday. The abduction stirred the neighborhood and spurred a massive search, with the city offering $10,000 reward for her safe return.
The next morning, as Nelson Mandela Myers was walking to his workplace near a city park, he heard a young girl’s voice.
“When I got closer, it sounded clear: ‘Help, help,’” Myers, a sanitation worker, said. “When I saw her under the slide, I was shocked. She was there by herself and only a shirt on.”
Myers had found her around 4:40 a.m. that Tuesday morning and it was unclear how long she had been outside — the temperature at that time was 37 degrees. It rained that night.
The victim played a pivotal role in Regusters’ capture. When recounting her story, the child kept referring to a talking bird inside the home that would “peck her eyes out” if she didn’t stay under the bed. The talking bird became a focal point in police’s investigation.
Regusters’s attorney, W. Fred Harrison, Jr., does not believe that the burqua-clad individual in surveillance images was his client, and also said that his Regusters would never have sexually assaulted the then-5-year-old. Harrison, Jr., reasons that Regusters herself was a victim of sexual abuse, and that these actions are “out of character” for his client.
Regusters worked at the daycare that the victim attended. Her Facebook page, under the name “Cristina‘Marie Pie’face Regusters,” includes photos of her spending time with her younger family members five days after the abduction.
Her Facebook page also has a picture post of fingerpaint art with the caption, “My hand in the middle and the other two belongs to two special babies that I call my son and daughter ... I feel like the happiest mother in the world when I see those smiles everyday I go to work!!!!! ;)-”
Regusters has been charged, but questions remain. What was her motive? Why did Regusters, a teen herself at the time of crime, commit this horrific ordeal? Was there a male waiting in the house Regusters took the victim in? What was his role?