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Hawaii judge orders stepmom in kids' abduction held without bail

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
Associated Press

POSTED: 10:47 a.m. HST, May 16, 2012

The stepmom of three children who were taken by their father to the Bahamas on a sailboat against custody orders is being held without bail in Hawaii and will be extradited to Montana.

Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura ordered Angela Bryant, 45, to be held without bail, pending extradition, Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jason Skier told the Associated Press.

Skier said Nakamura approved his request to reconsider Bryant's bail amount, which had been previously set at $250. Montana authorities have until June 13 to take her back.

Her public defender, Michael Ebesugawa, could not immediately be reached for comment after today's hearing.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer last month directly asked Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie to return Bryant to the mainland.

The children's father, James Ray Bryant, 44 pleaded guilty earlier this week in Montana to a felony count of parenting interference, after the children's mother said he failed to return them under a custody agreement. Under Montana law, parenting interference carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Angela Bryant faces similar charges.

The abduction touched off a months-long search last year.

After receiving an anonymous tip that Angela Bryant had flown to Hawaii, police there put the home where she was staying under surveillance, then arrested her during a traffic stop. She told police that her husband and the children were in south Florida. In March, border agents searching for Bryant and the children spotted a boat 30 miles off the Florida coast attempting to return to Bahamian waters. The children — Megan Bryant, 15, Maxwell Bryant, 13, and Sebastian Bryant, 12 — were on board, along with a dog, a cat, a lizard and a snake. Authorities said they had no reason to believe the children were in any immediate danger.

The children were reunited with their mother and legal guardian, Kelly Bryant.

Soon after her arrest last month, Angela Bryant didn't agree to waive extradition. Weeks of delayed hearings ensued. "It took a while, but in the end, the right decision was reached," Skier said. "The governor's warrant circumvents her trying to delay this any further."

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