A grandmother and grandfather have landed in Spokane County Jail after allegedly kidnapping their three grandchildren and hiding them for more than a year and a half. U.S. Marshals captured them in February in Louisiana.
The suspects, David McConnell, 52, and Susan McConnell, 51, are being held on $500,000 bonds. They were booked into Spokane County Jail on Monday.
The children have been reunited with their mother.
Court records allege that David McConnell impregnated his stepdaughter about 20 years ago when she was 14. Officials plan to test McConnell to see if he is the father and potentially pursue rape charges. David McConnell’s stepdaughter is Susan McConnell’s daughter.
There’s no record of the victim reporting the alleged rape. But she later married and gave birth to four children, the eldest possibly fathered by David McConnell, according to court documents.
In early 2017, Susan’s daughter temporarily split up with her husband, according to court documents. She then began to date someone new, who was later revealed to allegedly be a sex offender. When Susan McConnell discovered that, she threatened to call Child Protective Services on her daughter if she didn’t sign over the children to her and David, court records state.
The daughter agreed to sign over custody of her kids. But she eventually got back together with her husband, and the two began the process of regaining custody of their kids in 2017. She later told detectives that in June 2017, “Susan told (her) she would kill (her) if she attempted to gain custody of the children,” according to court documents, “Susan stated she would disappear so no one would find her.”
A judge awarded them custody in December 2017, and the McConnells signed over custody of the oldest kid. But David McConnell disappeared with the other three children. They were ages 14, 12 and 10 at the time.
Susan made a number of court appearances after David disappeared, during which she told the court that she had no way of contacting David and the children, and she didn’t know where they were.
Police have reason to believe she was lying because Susan’s niece told detectives that she overheard phone calls between Susan and David during car rides with Susan, according to court records.
Around this time, Susan also allegedly used her niece’s identity to get access to child welfare funds, according to court records.
Police showed up multiple times at the McConnells’ house in Ione, Washington, without finding the grandparents or children.
The McConnells were found in a home in Marksville, Louisiana, in February. They had been living there for 14 months, according to court documents. The U.S. Marshals also found more than 20 guns in the house during the arrest.
The arrest warrant for the McConnells in September 2018 calls for a DNA test for David to see if he is the father of his stepdaughter’s first child, the one that Susan signed over custody of without incident.
If that reveals that he’s the father, he could be charged with rape in Arizona, where they used to live and where the alleged rape took place, according to an Arizona detective.
The McConnells denied a request from The Spokesman-Review for a jail interview.
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