The woman who set off a massive search and triggered an Amber Alert after allegedly abducting her three boys appeared in a Maine courtroom Wednesday.
Staff at the Penobscot County Jail confirmed to Eyewitness News that Jackie Morris, 32, was being held in their custody. She was arraigned Wednesday afternoon.
"I was just a mom." Morris told the judge. "I feel like the charges being brought against me are not right. The children's best interests are at heart."
Morris's attorney said she believed the situation was a misunderstanding.
The judge decided to give Morris and her attorney more time to discuss her rights and the charges brought against her.
In Connecticut, the children's father said he was relieved.
"Like a weight lifted off my shoulders," said Jason Lewis, the boys' father. "It feels good."
Lewis spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News on Tuesday before making the five-hour trip to Maine to reunite with his children.
Morris was charged with being a fugitive from justice after she fled Connecticut with her three young boys following a regularly scheduled weekend visit.
"They were supposed to be returned to their father and go to school Monday and Tuesday," said Detective James Grady of the Vernon Police Department.
According to Vernon police, Morris was supposed to return them to their father Sunday evening after a weekend visitation. However, police said Morris instead checked out of a local motel and took off with the three boys, who are ages 9 and twin 7-year-olds.
Vernon police issued the Amber Alert for the children Tuesday morning, concerned for their well-being.
"Why she took the kids, it wasn't a good thing," said neighbor Mark Landrie.
Police in Bangor, ME, located Morris and the children several hours later at a motel in town. The children were unharmed and in good condition, officials said.
They have not said why she was in Maine, but mentioned during the alert that she had connections in that state.
"I just want to say thank you to the Vernon Police," Lewis said. "They really helped me out. They got it done for me."
Working with the Tolland State's Attorney Office, Vernon police said they obtained an arrest warrant for Morris. Once she is returned to Connecticut, Morris will be facing several charges, including risk of injury to a minor and first-degree custodial interference.
She was held on $250,000 bond.
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