Bond set for Rapid City mom in kidnapping case
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A Rapid City woman who is suspected of taking her kids from a Custer daycare and driving them across the state made her first appearance in court.
On Wednesday, 37-year-old Katrina Joy Seay appeared before Seventh Circuit Court on two counts of first-degree kidnapping after allegedly abducting two of her kids, leading an Amber Alert to be sent out on May 29.
Law enforcement followed the woman’s vehicle for over 300 miles before officers managed to stop Seay at a farm north of Mitchell. The children were found unharmed and placed in the care of the Department of Social Services.
Magistrate Judge Todd Hyronimus set her bond at $50,000 cash or surety in line with the State’s request.
Seay faces a life sentence and/or a $50,000 fine for each charge.
The Primary Narrative
According to court documents obtained from the Custer County Clerk of Courts, Sheriff’s Sergeant Derrick Reifenrath was notified by dispatch at around 11:54 a.m. that a woman claiming to be the kid’s foster parent reported the two children missing and their non-custodial mother might have taken them.
When the officer reached the woman, she revealed herself to be the co-owner of the daycare the two were taken from. She also told the sergeant she suspected the children’s mother because a tracker was placed on one of the kids.
Later, Reifenrath met the other co-owner at the daycare, who said the children were last seen by a playmate in the backyard of the daycare. The three children were playing a game on a trampoline when the siblings got into an argument with the playmate. The child went inside to tell the second co-owner, who told the pair to quit fighting. Their friend then went back outside around 11:20 a.m., but could not find the two children.
Reifenrath’s report further indicates “it is estimated that the time between when [the second co-owner] saw the kids and [the playmate] went outside was around two minutes.”
The daycare operator then began to search the yard and nearby outbuildings, eventually enlisting a neighbor and the Custer Fire Chief to look for the children. The real foster mom was then informed of the situation and the owners reported the incident.
Court documents show 40 minutes passed before police were notified.
The foster mom and the co-owners told Reifenrath that Katrina Seay, the biological mom of the then-missing children, had taken them. They suspected she took the kids after the children’s guardian found a smartwatch that allowed Seay to both speak with and see the location of her daughter. The watch was later secured by Reifenrath and placed in evidence.
Seay allegedly abducted other children of hers in the past, according to the pair’s case worker at Department of Social Services, although our staff was unable to find records of past offenses.
She eventually stopped at an Oglala Sioux Tribe border checkpoint, where on-scene staff identified Seay and an unknown adult male in the front seat before letting them pass through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
While traveling east, Seay called a Sioux Falls media organization to correct the age of one of the children reported in the Amber Alert. She also claimed she had the children and they were not in danger.
Later that night, Seay entered the town of Mitchell, where a pursuit began. However, officers ended the pursuit out of caution for the kids’ safety when speeds reached 100 mph on city streets.
Then, just before 10 p.m. MDT, officers stopped the vehicle at a farm north of town. Seay was arrested on the charge of kidnapping and the children were later taken into protective custody by DSS. The two were unharmed.
The unknown male was identified as Matthew Scott Cabaniss. A Department of Criminal Investigations agent interviewed the man, who said Seay called him and made arrangements for a romantic stay in a hotel. The agent believed Cabaniss was not initially involved in the kidnapping.
The report further indicates Seay told the DCI agent she had taken the kids from the Custer daycare.
Her next court appearance is on June 15 at the Custer County Courthouse.
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