Mother sentenced in child abduction

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A former Cherokee Village woman who kidnapped her child from a foster home in Illinois was sentenced Dec. 16 in Mercer County, Ill.

Aimee Hankins, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of child abduction. Another count was dismissed. She is currently free.

Through her plea, she was placed on 20 months of conditional discharge, which is a type of probation; however, Hankins doesn't have to report to anyone. She was sentenced to 152 days in jail, time already served. She was ordered to pay a $1,381 fine.

She can be randomly tested for drugs. She cannot have a firearm. The court will review the case March 16.

Hankins had been held in the Mercer County jail since Oct. 1 in lieu of a $1 million bond. She had a mental evaluation Oct. 19 and was found fit to stand trial.

Prior to her extradition she had been held in an Arizona jail since she was arrested Sept. 12. Hankins called Detective Jeff Dale with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office twice before she was apprehended. Dale had the call traced and dispatched Arizona authorities to her location.

Arizona authorities arrested Hankins in a remote area in Apache County, Ariz., Dale said. She had been running from authorities for 10 days after she kidnapped her 10-year-old son, Devin K. Hankins, from a home he was sharing with his 14-year-old half sister and her biological father and his wife in New Windsor, Ill.

Authorities say Hankins entered the home during the night or early morning and took her son. She had gone to Illinois in August and asked her children to go with her, but the children refused, Dale said.

Authorities feared for the safety of Devin Hankins. After his abduction, an Amber Alert was issued and pictures were disbursed across the nation to help find Hankins and her son.

Devin Hankins, a ward of Arkansas, had been placed in the home July 27. After he returned to Arkansas from Arizona, he was once again placed in the couple's custody.

Aimee Hankins' children have been in and out of foster care for approximately 13 months, Dale said. Aimee Hankins' 5-year-old son, Andrew Hankins, died in September 2003 from a form of Batten's disease. Two days later her husband, Loren Hankins, died of cancer. Custody battles began soon after their deaths.

Authorities say they suspect Hankins' male companion was with her during the abduction; however, he was not present when Hankins was apprehended, Dale said. No charges have been filed against him.

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