More on missing mom, daughter's trek to Florida

May 28, 2009 7:00:45 AM PDT
Authorities already had their doubts about Bonnie Sweeten's elaborate abduction story. But it completely fell apart when police learned they had all sorts of surveillance camera pictures of Sweeten and her 9-year-old daughter, Julia, boarding a flight bound for Orlando, Florida.Less than 2 hours after Sweeten said she was calling 911 from the trunk of a Cadillac and that she and her daughter had been abducted, security cameras at Philadelphia International Airport captured images of the two boarding a plane for Orlando. Law enforcement sources say they were boarding the plane on their own free will.

Action News has learned the cameras are not equipped with facial recognition technology but authorities had received a tip detailing specific information that Sweeten had faked the abduction and had taken a US Airways flight to Orlando at 4:15 Tuesday afternoon.

We also learned that she had used a girlfriend's driver's license and name to purchase the tickets and clear security.

Now ordinarily when an Amber Alert is declared their pictures would have been plastered all over Transportation Security Administration monitors at the airport. But the Amber Alert was not declared until 7:30 Tuesday night and by that time it was too late. Sweeten and her daughter were already in Florida.

She would later check into the Grand Floridian Hotel at Walt Disney World resort using her girlfriend's name and driver's license and then took her daughter to the theme park Wednesday where authorities would later locate them.

Sources say there were several red flags early on in the investigation including Sweeten's alleged involvement in the theft of funds from her former employer, an attorney in Upper Makefield Township.

Another red flag authorities say was that Sweeten's alleged kidnapped and that of her daughter at a busy Lower South Hampton intersection in broad daylight was witnessed by no one and her frantic call to 911 dispatchers originated in Center City Philadelphia not Bucks County.

And further that she had withdrawn $12-thousand from a number of banks earlier in the day.

All of this, authorities say explains why they waited so long, almost 5 hours before deciding to activate the Amber Alert. In the end, they decided because a child was involved and her safety and well-being in question, they went forward with Sweeten's alleged kidnapping story.

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