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School staff testify about unknowingly letting rapist kidnap 'kind, sweet' child

Trial began Monday for a woman charged with kidnapping a 5-year-old girl out of an elementary school in 2013 and raping and torturing her for almost a day.

Christina Regusters child abduction Christina Regusters, mugshot at age 19 in 2013. Credit: PPD

The 5-year-old girl on surveillance footage entering Bryant Elementary around 8:40 a.m. on Jan. 13, 2013, was wearing a puffy winter coat with a hood, and dark pants with a white stripe down the leg and had a pink backpack.

About 10 minutes later, the same camera shows her leave with a woman in a Muslim burka, who holds an umbrella over the girl's head.

At trial on Monday, prosecutors said that woman was Christina Regusters, now 21, and charged with rape and kidnapping. She allegedly kept the girl captive at her home on the 6200 block of Walton Avenue while sexually abusing her.

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"Everything was just going according to our normal morning routine," testified Reginald Littlejohn, the substitute kindergarten teacher who allowed the child to be taken out of his classroom that morning.

"She was kind, sweet, cooperative -- very good," he said of the girl's personality.

When Regusters entered classroom 103, identified herself as the girl's mother and asked for her to leave, Littlejohn didn't realize anything was amiss.

Regusters had already allegedly passed the sign-in desk at the school's entrance after writing a scrunched, illegible signature.

Lisa Jones, the attendant at the desk, testified she did not know it was School District policy to ask adults for photo ID before allowing them to sign kids out.

When a day-care provider came to pick up the girl at 3:30 p.m. and found her missing, she phoned the girl's aunt. At that point, the school was notified that the girl had gone missing.

"It just got crazy," testified school assistant Andrina Wright. "Different phones were ringing, someone said the cops were coming in."

"It was a chaotic atmosphere. No one really knew what was going on, they just knew a young lady was missing. They were all pointing fingers at each other," testified Floyd Jackson, first police officer to respond to the school.

The victim, now 7, was found a day later in a playground wearing an adult T-shirt.

Prosecutors said during their opening statements at trial that the victim was blindfolded during the 19-hour ordeal.

Regusters allegedly raped the child with an unknown object and threatened her that a bird in the same room would peck her eyes out if she made noise.

She also told the girl that a man was abusing her, but prosecutors say Regusters was the sole rapist.

Prosecutors say DNA from Regusters' saliva on the girls body proves that she is the kidnapper and rapist, as well as statements by the victim and the victim pointing out Regusters' house while assisting the detectives' investigation.

But defense attorney W. Fred Harrison Jr. questioned the case -- pointing out that three other people also lived at the home, Regusters' cousin, her aunt, and her aunt's boyfriend.

"It's brazen," Harrison said of the kidnapping of the child out of her school during his opening statement. "It's nefarious. Who does that? Who does that?"

 
 
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