Originally created 04/03/02

Missing mystery unravels



She was missing. Then she wasn't.

She said she was kidnapped and taken to Jacksonville, Fla., with her 1-year-old stepgrandson.

Then she was arrested.

In the end, police say, Alice Pacquette's story didn't hold up.

Richmond County Sheriff's Office Investigator Scott Peebles said Ms. Pacquette, 58, was driving around Augusta purchasing crack cocaine and using it while baby-sitting Tekel Dunn, who was in her car.

"Initially, she told us a story that she was kidnapped," sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said Tuesday. "But we had some information that conflicted with that."

Ms. Pacquette and Tekel were reported missing Monday night by Tekel's mother, Natasha Brown, after the two didn't show up for several hours. Ms. Brown had last seen Ms. Pacquette and her son when they drove off in a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Police in Richmond, Columbia, Burke and Aiken counties were asked to be on the lookout for them.

At 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, a deputy spotted the woman and the child in a car on Poplar Street, where Ms. Brown lives.

Police questioned Ms. Pacquette and charged her with contributing to the deprivation of a minor, Maj. Autry said. She was taken to the Richmond County Detention Center, with bond set at $5,050, according to jail records.

Tekel was turned over to his mother, and police were left shaking their heads.

"This is unusual, especially for a person her age, that she would do something like that," Maj. Autry said.

It's not the first time Ms. Pacquette has reported being kidnapped, however, Maj. Autry said. He said her last report occurred in 1997.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904.

WHAT'S NEXT: An arraignment date in State Court will be set for Alice Pacquette.