HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Pittsburgh woman faces a half dozen felony charges in Huntingdon County after police say she took three children and hid them from county social workers.
Sonia Rogers, 35, was arraigned Monday on three counts each of felony kidnapping of a minor interfering with public officials and felony interference with custody of children stemming from an incident in 2017 where Mount Union police contend she whisked a family member’s three children off to Pittsburgh so Huntingdon County Children’s Services couldn’t take emergency custody.
It started the morning of Feb. 2 when the children’s mother was arrested in a drug raid and children’s services filed for emergency custody of all three kids, ages 2, 11 and 13 at the time, according to the charges.
Rogers spoke to the caseworker on the phone and said she wanted to take the children and was driving to Huntingdon County from Pittsburgh, but she never showed up and then wouldn’t answer her phone.
Rogers said she would be in Mount Union by 6 p.m. on Feb. 2, but she never showed up and when the caseworker attempted to get the youngest child who had been taken in by a friend when the children’s mother was arrested, the woman and the baby weren’t there and neither were the two older children who were supposed to have been picked up after school that day.
Mount Union police started calling family members and when they called Rogers, she said she had no idea of their location, but police ultimately tracked down information that led them to suspect the kids had been driven to Pittsburgh.
During the investigation, police were told the friend had dropped the children off with a family member in the parking lot of the Walmart in Richland Township, Cambria County. From there, the children were taken to a home on the west side of Pittsburgh, police were told after speaking to several witnesses.
At one point, Rogers called police and asked questions, but she “would not give us any helpful information and continued to get aggravated,” police wrote in the charges. Police pointed out Rogers also claimed she wasn’t contacted before the emergency protected custody orders were put in place.
Throughout the night, Pittsburgh police tried to locate the children. By the afternoon of Feb. 3, police declared the children missing and checked with Walmart’s loss prevention staff who then found security camera footage that showed what police said was the children getting out of a car and into an older model green pickup truck.
At a court hearing that same day, the mother testified that her children were with a relative in the Johnstown area, but police noted she was unable to provide an exact address. At about 4 p.m. on Feb. 3, Rogers called police and wanted to talk with the children’s services caseworker in order to tell them the location of the children.
It was then Pittsburgh police were sent to get the children, according to the charges. Rogers is scheduled to appear before Magisterial District Judge Lisa Covert on April 28 for a preliminary hearing on the charges.