WATERVILLE, Maine — A Fairfield woman accused of abducting two of her children not in her legal custody and fleeing to South Carolina had her bail set Wednesday. Additionally, police have charged another woman in connection with the case.
BethMarie Retamozzo, 34, who is charged with two counts of criminal restraint by a parent, a felony, appeared on video from Kennebec County Jail in Augusta in front of Judge Charles Dow in Waterville District Court. Dow set her bail at $25,000 cash or $100,000 surety. She did not enter a plea.
Retamozzo had a supervised visit with her daughter Joslyn Retamozzo, 7, and son Joel Retamozzo, 6, on Aug. 15 in the Waterville area, where the children live with their grandparents, according to police. She placed the children in her car and didn’t return at the designated time.
She was caught by police in a rest area along Interstate 95 in South Carolina at about 10:15 p.m. Aug. 18. She also had her 2-year-old daughter with her. She has legal custody of that child.
The judge ordered that Retamozzo have no contact with Joel or Joslyn as well as Pamela Taylor, 54, the children’s legal guardian and grandmother. Retamozzo also has a curfew, where she must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. She was also ordered not to leave the state.
Retamozzo has applied for a court-appointed lawyer, and said only two words during the three-minute appearance — “yes,” when asked whether she understood the charges, and “no,” when asked whether she had any questions.
Dow set a status conference in Kennebec County Superior Court for Retamozzo for Oct. 29.
The woman who served as the court-appointed visitation supervisor was charged Tuesday in connection to the case.
Jennifer Dore, 37, did not report that Retamozzo had driven off with the children until five hours after it happened, according to Waterville Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey. She’s charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
On Aug. 15, Retamozzo traveled with Dore to pick up her children for a planned supervised visit at 12:30 p.m. They met Pamela and Kevin Taylor and left with the two children with instructions to return them at 5 p.m., according to a police affidavit.
Retamozzo and Dore returned to Ace Tire in Waterville to retrieve Retamozzo’s vehicle. Because there was more space in her vehicle, Retamozzo told Dore that it would be better if the children rode with her and Dore followed Retamozzo to a playground in Fairfield.
“Both vehicles then left Ace Tire with BethMarie leading,” Waterville Police Officer Adam Sirois said in the affidavit. “BethMarie’s vehicle then sped off and Dore was unable to keep up.”
Dore, who is not employed by the Department of Health and Human Services, went to the agreed-upon spot, but Retamozzo never showed up.
“Dore was unable to locate or make contact with BethMarie and assumed that she would be returning back home at a later time,” Sirois wrote.
Cell phone tracking revealed that Retamozzo was headed south. She ignored calls from police and relatives, eventually turning off both cell phones.
Retamozzo has four biological children living in Florida in the custody of another grandmother, according to the affidavit.
Pamela Taylor said she had spoken to the other grandmother and learned that Retamozzo had kept a diary from about 10 years earlier that contained disturbing entries.
“They learned that BethMarie was thinking about killing herself as well as her four children,” according to the affidavit. “In addition, BethMarie wrote that the Devil was telling her to molest her children but that she didn’t know why he was telling her to do this.”
Retamozzo and her children were asleep in her 1999 Nissan Quest when they were found Aug. 18 by troopers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Wednesday that the children are safe, but didn’t reveal who had custody of them.
“Law enforcement was very concerned about her children and they really did a phenomenal job at tracking her down so quickly and make sure the children are safe,” said Maloney.