Readers in Memphis may have heard about a recent abduction of two girls after a man killed their mother and older sister. The incident ended when the man fatally shot himself as law enforcement officers were approaching. The girls were rescued safely. The widow of the Mississippi man has now been indicted on two charges of murder and kidnapping.

Authorities claim the woman hid in her car as her husband abducted the two girls from their home. She allegedly took the girls for a ride in her vehicle shortly after they were kidnapped. When they returned to the victims’ house, the husband had allegedly killed the girls’ mother and older sister. The woman then allegedly drove them all to the home she shares with her husband. The husband then escaped into the woods with the two girls, where law enforcement officers found him shortly before he shot and killed himself.

The woman has been held in jail since her arrest. The judge overseeing the case said a public defender will be appointed for her. She did not enter a plea, according to a news report.

Kidnapping is generally defined as the taking of a person from one place to another, against that person’s will. It can also include the confinement of a person to a controlled space. Some kidnapping laws are more specific and require the taking or confinement of a person to be committed for illegal purposes, such as extortion or the abetment of a crime. In some cases, even a parent can be charged with kidnapping for taking his or her own child.

The criminal penalties for kidnapping are extremely serious. Nonetheless, all persons accused of a crime in this country, no matter how shocking, are entitled to the presumption of innocence and the assistance of counsel in presenting their defense.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, “Adam Mayes’ widow indicted on murder and kidnapping charges in Tennessee,” Jan. 10, 2013