Woman faces charges after police find daughter hidden in hole

Thursday, August 21, 2008 | 10:25 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — A 37-year-old mother embroiled in a bitter custody dispute with an ex-husband faces felony kidnapping charges after police discovered her 11-year-old daughter living in a hole cut into the woman's living room floor.

Rebecca Albrecht of New Bloomfield, who also uses the last name Vieth-Albrecht, was charged Thursday with felony counts of child abduction and perjury. She is accused of lying to a Cole County grand jury called to investigate the abduction of Bailey Vieth from her father's Jefferson City home.

Bailey was first reported missing on July 29 and initially considered a runaway. Investigators visited her mother's home in Callaway County several times in the ensuing weeks without discovering the child, Cole County Sheriff Greg White told reporters Thursday afternoon.

She was discovered Wednesday in a crawl space covered with plywood and carpeting, with a sofa over that material, after Albrecht's live-in boyfriend confessed that Albrecht "planned and arranged for her daughter to be removed from her father's custody," according to a probable cause statement filed in Cole County Circuit Court.

"Her health was as good as when she was taken to that residence," White said, adding that the girl did not appear to have been physically abused or deprived of food. "We're thankful that Bailey's alive, she's safe and she's healthy."

White added that two "very young" children other than Bailey were living with Albrecht and her boyfriend, Chris West. Court records show that West had a son whom Albrecht named in a financial statement.

Court records show that Albrecht and James Christopher Vieth divorced in January 2002, with custody awarded to each parent on alternating weeks. In July 2007, Albrecht sought court permission to move with her daughter to Burlington, Vt. Albrecht said in court documents she planned to work at a boarding school for troubled teens.

The court file had no record of a ruling in that case. On June 9, Vieth sought an emergency court order asking for Bailey's return and alleging that she had been "illegally restrained" in New Bloomfield by Albrecht since June 2. A June 19 court ruling ordered Albrecht to return the child to her father.

Lawyers for Albrecht and Vieth did not immediately return telephone calls from The Associated Press.

Additional arrests are possible, White said. He declined to indicate whether West, who is listed in court records as Albrecht's fiance, was among those still under investigation. No charges had been filed against West.

A second marriage to Matthew Albrecht ended in divorce in July 2004 after just six months, according to court records. Albrecht listed her job at the time with Boys and Girls Town of Missouri.



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