Margaret E. Smith is shown in this photo provided by Delaware State Police.
LINCOLN, Del.- Delaware State Police have arrested two teenage girls accused of carjacking an 89-year-old Lincoln woman and then locking her inside the trunk of her vehicle for nearly two days before dropping her off at a cemetery. Three other teens are also facing charges in connection with the investigation.
Police said that at around 9 p.m. Tuesday, troopers responded to the 22000 block of Slaughter Neck Road in Lincoln where they met with a family member of Margaret E. Smith, who had reported her as missing. The relative told troopers that Smith had not been seen or heard from since around 11 a.m. Monday, when a neighbor saw her getting into her car and leaving the home. Relatives grew concerned due to her not contacting anyone and the fact that she had medical conditions that required medication, according to police. A Gold Alert was issued that same evening with Smith's vehicle description, along with information containing her physical depiction.
At 8:20 a.m. Wednesday, troopers were dispatched to the area of a cemetery located on Calvary Road east of Seaford to investigate the report of an elderly woman wandering around the graves. Police said the woman, who turned out to be Smith, was contacted and appeared to be confused and suffering from exposure. Her car was nowhere around. She was transported to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital where she was treated and released.
On Wednesday evening, Smith went with relatives to Troop 4 in Georgetown where she was interviewed by detectives about the incident. As Smith was giving her account of the event, police said troopers were conducting a traffic stop on her car on Chaplains Chapel Road in Bridgeville. According to police, the car's five occupants were all taken into custody without incident.
Police said the investigation into the incident revealed that on Monday, Smith was at a convenience store in Milford when she was approached by two females. Investigators said the girls, later identified as a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl, both of Milford, asked for a ride to the Lincoln area and Smith agreed. When they arrived at a home, police said the two girls demanded Smith's keys and a struggle ensued between her and the girls when she refused to hand the keys over. Investigators said that once in possession of the keys, the girls then ordered Smith out of the car and forced her into the trunk of the car before driving off with her inside.
Authorities said that at one point during the kidnapping, the two girls demanded money from Smith before removing more than $500 from her coat pocket. After almost two days of being trapped in the vehicle, the girls then dropped her off at the cemetery where she was located on Wednesday morning by a visitor on the grounds, police said.
Seaford residents who live near the graveyard on Cavalry Road say this type of incident rarely happens in their neighborhood.
"I thought it was crazy. I mean, it's normally quiet around here. Nobody really bothers anybody. People stick to themselves," said Jermaine Walston.
"People come out here dumping trash and all that stuff. But as far as trouble, we don't have any trouble around here I know of," said Fontaine Abbott.
As a result of the investigation, police charged the two Milford teens with first-degree robbery, first-degree carjacking, second-degree kidnapping and second-degree conspiracy. Both were ordered held in the Stevenson House Detention Center on $122,000 cash bond.
Two 17-year-old Bridgeville boys, who were allegedly inside the victim's car during the traffic stop, were charged with second-degree kidnapping, receiving stolen property and second-degree conspiracy. Both were ordered held in the Stevenson House on $27,000 secured bond.
The fifth juvenile arrested in connection with this incident, a 15-year-old Bridgeville girl, was charged with receiving stolen property and second-degree conspiracy. She was ordered held in the Stevenson House on $2,000 secured bond.
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