PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A woman charged with abducting a 5-year-old Philadelphia girl from school and sexually assaulting her was temporarily suspended at the time from her job at the day care center the child attended, her former employer testified Tuesday.
Christina Regusters, 21, is the only person charged in the brutal January 2013 attack. Her DNA was found on a T-shirt the shivering girl had on when she was found before dawn the next morning on a playground, prosecutors said in opening statements Monday. The defense has said that other people were involved and that Regusters does not match the initial witness descriptions of the woman who took the girl from her kindergarten classroom.
“She was a good employee,” day care owner April Walker said Tuesday.
Regusters, then 19, worked well with the children, Walker said, but was suspended for three days on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, because of issues with poor attendance. The girl went missing from her nearby public school kindergarten the following Monday.
Police believe Regusters donned Muslim garb to pose as the child’s mother and remove her from her class at Bryant Elementary School in west Philadelphia, telling a substitute teacher she was taking her out for breakfast.
Walker said Regusters had limited contact with the girl at the day care center, occasionally being assigned to pick her and other charges up at the elementary school to walk them to the nearby after-school program.
However, Regusters helped in the girl’s 18-month-old brother’s classroom, and knew their mother.
Walker said she was unaware of any child-related complaints about Regusters during her year on the job.
However, prosecutors said in opening statements Monday that she molested a young female relative, and cut off the girl’s braids when she threatened to tell.
In his openings, defense lawyer W. Fred Harrison Jr. disclosed that Regusters had been physically assaulted by her father, and raped by a stranger in 2012.
The victim, now 7, expected to testify this week.