Lincoln, Del., is a little dinky town about 100 miles south of Philly. It's normally too far and too sleepy for us to write about. But the Delaware State Police today announced arrests in a case that is so heartless, it needs some ink.
It started about 11 a.m. Monday, when Margaret E. Smith, 89, left her Lincoln home to go get some chicken. Outside the Chicken Man eatery in nearby Milford, Del., two teen girls approached Smith and asked her for a ride to Lincoln, according to the Delaware State Police. Smith agreed - but back in Lincoln, the girls demanded her car keys, state police said. Smith refused, but the girls wrestled them from her, forced her into her car trunk and drove off with her trapped in the trunk. Her family reported her missing at 9 p.m. Tuesday, and state police issued a Gold Alert.
For two days, the girls drove around with Smith in the trunk, stealing more than $500 from her coat pocket and finally abandoning her early Wednesday in a cemetery just east of Seaford, Del. A cemetery visitor found her there, wandering around the graves, at 8:20 a.m. that morning. Confused and suffering from exposure, she was treated and released from Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.
Wednesday evening, troopers found and stopped Smith's car in Bridgeville, Del. A 14-year-old from Milford was driving, while a 15-year-old Milford and three juvenile boys from Bridgeville, ages 17, 17 and 15, were passengers. Investigators aren't sure when the boys got in the car, but "at one point, the boys observed the woman in the trunk and did nothing about it," said Master Cpl. Gary E. Fournier, a state police spokesman. Troopers also haven't determined what the teens did during the two days they had the car, but they did spend one night at a Seaford hotel, Fournier added.
The girls were jailed on $122,000 bail each, charged with robbery, carjacking, kidnapping and conspiracy. The older boys were jailed on $27,000 bail each, charged with kidnapping, conspiracy and receiving stolen property. The younger boy was charged with conspiracy and receiving stolen property and jailed on $2,000 bail. Delaware State Police routinely release juveniles' names in violent felonies, including this case, but the Daily News generally withholds juveniles' names unless they are charged as adults. The state attorney general's office said it generally takes a few days before they decide whether to charge juveniles as adults.