Issue of bond delayed for Wisconsin woman accused in strange child custody case

A Wisconsin woman accused of traveling to Augusta and taking a 12-year-old girl from her home at the request of her daughter who had befriended the youth online will remain in jail until a mental evaluation is completed.

 

Richmond County Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. took the bond request for Annette Zopfi under advisement Friday until he can see the report.

Zopfi, 52, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of interstate interference with custody. She has been in jail without bond since her arrest in February.

Assistant District Attorney Amanda Pennington told the judge Friday how Zopfi drove 17 hours with her daughter and a friend to reach the Hephzibah home of a 12-year-old girl who lives with her aunt and uncle.

The girl and Zopfi’s 11-year-old daughter had an online friendship for over a year and they decided she should go live with the Zopfi family in Wisconsin, Pennington said. At her daughter’s request, Zopfi drove to Georgia to collect the girl in the middle of night, without speaking to her legal guardians.

The girl’s uncle called the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office when he realized she was gone. She was tracked through her iPhone to a Waffle House in Newberry, S.C., about 69 miles from Augusta.

Defense attorney Annette Green asked the judge to consider bond for Zopfi. Although she has no connections to Georgia she has extensive connections in her Wisconsin home. Zopfi has no criminal record. She exercised poor judgment allowing the children to dictate what happened in February, Green said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com or (706) 823-3226

 

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