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Woman accused of kidnapping sister, 86

Dec. 30, 2008 at 2:42 PM

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The sister of an 86-year-old Pittsburgh woman has been charged with kidnapping her sibling in a bid to force her from her squalid apartment, police say.

Laura Stewart, 72, her boyfriend Earl Cross, 76, and a friend, Darnell Randall, 48, have been charged with kidnapping and falsely imprisoning Stewart's 86-year-old sister, Evelyn Poynter, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday.

Police said the three contend they were only trying to get Poynter out of her ramshackle apartment so Randall could make needed repairs. Authorities described the apartment as "deplorable" and filled with garbage and clutter.

Police told the newspaper they received a tip from a confidential informant who alerted them to the alleged abduction. A neighbor, Donald Nicholson, told the Post-Gazette Randall asked him to help remove the elderly woman, whom he said had been duct-taped and wrapped in a blanket, but he refused.

Another neighbor, Katie Evins, said she was astonished to learn of the alleged kidnapping, saying, "Maybe they thought it was a good thing. They've been doing this all year, trying to take her away, and she refused to go."

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