An Orem woman accused of kidnapping her children from her husband in Mississippi will fight extradition to that state, and her husband could soon be fighting extradition to Utah on the same charges.
A custody battle between Lauralee Curtis and her former husband, William Greg Curtis, has resulted in the double kidnapping of five of the couple's eight children, ages 3 to 14. Mr. Curtis is charged with custodial interference after the children were kidnapped in February and taken to Mississippi.A local court awarded Mrs. Curtis custody following divorce proceedings last December. But in March, a Mississippi court ignored the Utah custody decree and granted Mr. Curtis temporary custody.
At the request of Mississippi authorities, the Utah County attorney's office charged Mrs. Curtis and Jerry M. Cobb, who allegedly helped her, with being fugitives from justice after they retrieved the children earlier this month.
The charges against the defendants are third-degree felonies, punishable in Utah by zero to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
During an extradition hearing Wednesday in 4th Circuit Court, Mrs. Curtis and Cobb said they would fight extradition to Mississippi. Deputy Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson said he will notify Mississippi authorities that they will have to request a governor's warrant if they want to proceed with extradition. Another hearing will be held within 30 days. If Mississippi hasn't appealed by then to Gov. Norm Bangerter to extradite Mrs. Curtis and Cobbs, the request could be extended up to 60 days.
Meanwhile, the county attorney's office is still waiting for Mississippi authorities to arrest Mr. Curtis.