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3 charged with interfering with child custody

A Macon mother and two grandparents are charged with interfering with child custody after the mother spirited a 6-year-old boy out of state, according to the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

Catherine Brown, 34, of Crestline Drive, had arranged to meet the boy’s father in Jeffersonville on Friday to hand the child back over following a visit with Brown, the boy’s mother.

Jeffersonville is the halfway point between Macon and the father’s home on Fulghum Court in Laurens County, said Laurens County sheriff’s Capt. Stan Wright.

When Brown didn’t arrive at the pick-up point, the father, 34-year-old David Bentley, tried to reach her on the phone and ultimately went to her residence, which she shared with her parents, Wright said.

He found boxes and other evidence that Brown was in the process of moving, Wright said.

Authorities in Bibb and Laurens counties followed investigative leads to North Carolina and Tennessee before locating Brown and 6-year-old Joel Riley Bentley in Anderson, S.C., on Wednesday. Brown was arrested and is awaiting extradition back to Georgia, Wright said.

Brown’s parents, Bobby Lee and Connie Brown, were charged with interference with child custody Tuesday, he said.

“It appeared they had been planning this for quite some time,” Wright said.

The group took steps to change their appearances. For example, Connie Brown dyed her hair, and the car tag was changed on the vehicle Catherine Brown was using for travel, he said. Wright said the child was not harmed.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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