Mistrial Declared in Kidnapping Case

Laura Kilmer (Provided Photo)

CLEARFIELD – A DuBois woman accused of kidnapping her child was granted a mistrial on Wednesday.

Laura Kilmer faces charges of  kidnapping and interference with custody of children.

The mistrial came at Kilmer’s request. Her trial was set to begin at 9 a.m. before the Honorable Judge Paul E. Cherry. Cherry announced that one of the jurors did not show up due to mixing up the trial dates. Cherry said that one of the alternate juror’s could be moved into the missing juror’s slot, but the decision to proceed was ultimately the defendant’s.

Kilmer’s defense attorney, Mike Marshall, indicated that Kilmer wanted a mistrial declared. She was questioned by the judge, and related her understanding that a new jury will be picked within 120 days; most likely March 1.

Cherry asked Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. what his opinion on the motion for mistrial. Shaw said he wanted to make it clear that the commonwealth was ready to proceed. He also said that he wanted the case to go forward cleanly and avoid any appellate issues, so he did not oppose the request.

An affidavit of probable cause filed with the complaint provides that Kilmer took her 4 year old daughter from her residence, and fled to unknown whereabouts without the authorization or knowledge of the child’s father. On Jan. 4, 2011, the father was awarded full custody of the child by a court order issued in Clarion County. Upon further investigation, it was found that Kilmer had made several statements that she would shoot and kill the child with a handgun Kilmer had in her possession if she was about to be captured by authorities.

On Feb. 4, 2011, the United State Marshal Service (USMS) for the Western District of Pennsylvania opened a fugitive investigation in order to locate Kilmer and the missing child. The USMS forwarded leads to five USMS districts in four states, including one to the USMS for the District of Utah.

The Pennsylvania State Police and US Marshals initially pursued leads in New Jersey and Florida, and worked with the Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office to pinpoint Kilmer’s location based on where she made calls on her cell phone and where she used her credit card.

On Feb. 25, 2011, it was learned that the Garfield County, UT, Sheriff’s Department had run the license plate of Kilmer’s vehicle in the National Crime Information Center’s database when the vehicle had run out of gas. In speaking with the Sheriff, US Marshals learned that Kilmer had relayed that she was traveling north to visit relatives. US Marshals then found a location of Kilmer’s sister just north of Garfield County. US Marshals were able to locate Kilmer’s vehicle in the parking lot of her sister’s apartment complex.

On Feb. 27, 2011, US Marshals were alerted that the vehicle was moving. Due to the threat on the child’s life, the US Marshals developed the plan of waiting for Kilmer to stop and get gas before attempting an arrest. When Kilmer did stop at a convenience store in West Valley City, UT and go inside, without the child, she was arrested. The child was recovered safely at the time of the arrest. A loaded handgun was recovered from Kilmer’s vehicle at the time of her arrest.

Kilmer is currently housed in Clearfield County Jail.

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