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Hankins awaits mental evaluation

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A former Cherokee Village woman remains in an Illinois jail awaiting the results of her mental evaluation before she appears in court for her preliminary hearing on a child abduction charge brought against her after she allegedly kidnapped her son from a foster home in Illinois.

Aimee Hankins, 34, had her mental evaluation Oct. 19, the day after her preliminary hearing was originally scheduled. Because of the delay in the evaluation, the hearing has been rescheduled for Nov. 2, said Det. Jeff Dale with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office in Illinois.

Hankins has been held in the Mercer County jail in lieu of a $1 million bond since she arrived in Illinois Oct. 1 after she contacted Dale and turned herself in Sept. 12 in Arizona. Her bond is expected to be reduced at the hearing, Dale said.

She had an extradition hearing in Arizona Sept. 19. An extradition service transported Hankins back to Illinois, Dale said.

Aimee Hankins could spend one to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the abduction charge; however, the term could be extended if the judge so chooses, Dale said.

Arizona authorities arrested Hankins just before 2 p.m. Sept. 12 in a remote area in Apache County, Ariz., Dale said. She had been running from authorities for 10 days after she allegedly 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 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.

"There were some comments made from her supervisor and case worker that led us to believe she might harm him," Dale said.

Hankins called Dale twice before she was apprehended. Dale had the call traced and dispatched Arizona authorities to her location.

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, Dale said.

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.

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.

It is suspected Hankins' male companion, Larry Steven Carlisle of Cherokee Village, was with her during the abduction; however, he was not present when Hankins was apprehended, Dale said. No charges have been filed against him.

"He called after the extradition service picked her up and said he would be on his way with some documents that might help her in her case. He never showed up," Dale said.

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