Woman, 19, officially charged in girl's abduction

A 5-year-old girl was kidnapped from her West Philadelphia school in January by a woman dressed in a Muslim-style scarf (left) who said she was the child's mother. Christina Regusters, right, is charged in connection with the crime. (Photos: Philadelphia Police Department)

A 19-year-old woman has been officially charged with kidnapping, rape and other offenses in the abduction of a 5-year-old girl from her West Philadelphia elementary school last month.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said Christina Regusters is expected to be arraigned later today.

She faces a long list of charges: kidnapping, rape of a child, conspiracy, aggravated assault, unlawful contact with a minor, interference with custody, corruption of minors, concealing whereabouts, possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, indecent assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.

Regusters was arrested Thursday and three others were questioned in the Jan. 14 incident in which a kindergarten student was taken from her Bryant Elementary School classroom.

The three others who were questioned were released, but have not been ruled out as suspects, Philadelphia police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said this morning.

"Nobody's been ruled out," he said. Ramsey said the investigation will continue "until we have everyone who was involved."

The girl was picked up from school by a woman who was dressed in a Muslim-style scarf and said she was the child's mother. The girl was held for hours in a nearby home and was found early the next morning in an Upper Darby park.

Authorities believe Regusters was that woman, Ramsey said.

Police on Thursday transported Regusters and the three others questioned from a home on the 6200 block of Walton Avenue, the same house that investigators searched last week. The residence is just a few blocks from the girl's school, located near Cedar Avenue and 60th Street.

Ramsey said video surveillance footage, the child's account of what happened and a citizen who provided information about the block were key in making the arrest.

"Video was instrumental, the young girl was instrumental," he said.

Regusters was involved in an after-school the girl attended, Ramsey said.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.