A 50-year-old woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to hiding her son’s 16-year-old girlfriend in her Vancouver home for 15 days, while the girl’s family and authorities frantically searched for her.
Lori M. Kingrey appeared via video-conference from the Clark County Jail before District Court Judge Sonya Langsdorf on one count of gross misdemeanor harboring a minor.
Langsdorf released Kingrey Thursday with conditions, including no contact with the girl, Isabella Castillo. Her next court appearance is June 5.
If convicted, Kingrey faces up to 364 days’ confinement and a fine of $5,000.
Kingrey’s son, Robert Rogers, 17, is scheduled to appear today on an identical charge in Juvenile Court.
Isabella’s aunt, Cymany O’Brien, who is her guardian, said the girl ran away from home on March 25, apparently because she had broken a rule and was afraid of facing the consequences.
Rogers arranged for Isabella to stay with him at his mother’s house, according to a probable cause affidavit.
On March 28, a Vancouver police officer visited Kingrey’s home in the 900 block of West 17th Street and asked Rogers whether he knew Isabella’s whereabouts, the affidavit says.
“He advised me he had not seen or heard from Isabella since she ran away and that he was worried about her,” Officer David Brown wrote in the affidavit. “Neither Robby, nor his mother, disclosed that she was inside the house, knowing that she was listed as a runaway and that law enforcement was looking for her.”
After Isabella had been missing for two weeks, her grandmother, Carolyn Stokke, said she had “reached the point where I thought I wouldn’t see her again.” She said she thought the “unimaginable” had happened.
Brown visited the residence again on Sunday and inquired whether Isabella was inside. The affidavit indicates that both Kingrey and Rogers repeatedly denied that she was inside and said they didn’t know her whereabouts.
Later that day, Kingrey called police and said that Isabella had been at her home all along, “because she was not safe at her own residence,” according to the affidavit. The affidavit did not elaborate.
O’Brien said Thursday that if Kingrey was concerned that Isabella was unsafe, she should have called police or Child Protective Services instead of lying about the girl’s whereabouts.
“She was the adult, and she failed,” O’Brien said.