Charges filed in phony child abduction at Sequim park

SEQUIM, Wash. - Turns out "scaring the hell out of people" might be a crime.

City Attorney Craig Ritchie filed misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct Monday against twin brothers Jason and Jeremy Holden for their phony child abduction in Carrie Blake Park on April 13.

Ritchie previously said the brothers would not face charges, saying "scaring the hell out of people is not, as far as I can determine, a crime," but reversed that decision after reviewing the police report.

"For a disorderly conduct charge, I have to be able to prove that people were upset and scared and frightened - and disturbed," Ritchie said. "And I have that now."

The 25-year-old Holden brothers generated national controversy when they plucked their 4-year-old nephew from a bench in the park while wearing ski masks.

They then put the boy in a van and sped off while angered parents at the park chased after them.

The Holdens grew up on the North Olympic Peninsula and graduated from Port Angeles High School. They now own a pawn shop in Tacoma.

Clallam County District Court had not officially filed the charges as of press time, but Ritchie expected the brothers will be summoned to appear on the charges Thursday, June 12.

Ritchie said part of the delay in filing charges was due to the time needed for police to track down witnesses of the park kidnapping and due to his own 2 1/2-week vacation in Alaska.

If convicted, the brothers would face maximum penalties of one year in prison and $5,000 fines for the gross misdemeanor.

The brothers' phony kidnapping drew media attention from throughout the nation, and the two apologized for scaring people on the April 16 edition of NBC's "Today" show.

They said they staged the park kidnapping to raise awareness about missing children.

A number of calls were made by people at the park to emergency dispatchers about the kidnapping and Sequim police officers responded.

Police said they did receive a call a few minutes before the staged kidnapping occurred to warn officers it would be taking place.


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