News

Cocaine use may explain sitter taking boy

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

The Federal Way woman arrested in Seattle after she disappeared with a 4-year-old boy she was babysitting has been charged with unlawful imprisonment.

She was being held last week on $75,000 bail. Drug use is believed to have been a factor in the case.

Trina D. Leite was babysitting the boy at his home on Dec. 14 while his father was at work. She had been taking care of the boy, his older brother and her 9-year-old daughter at the apartment for some time, authorities said. She also had the use of the father’s car and cellphone while he was away. Leite was considered a friend of the family.

According to court documents, the boy’s father left for work around 8 a.m. Leite had arrived between 7 and 7:30 a.m., and her behavior seemed normal to him.

When he came home at about 5:45 p.m., he found his older son and Leite’s daughter outside the locked apartment. They had been there almost two hours and hadn’t been able to get inside, nobody answered their calls and knocking, and they noticed the father’s car was missing.

After searching the apartment and the complex, the father called Leite’s boyfriend, who had last heard from her at 11 a.m. when she called her on the father’s cellphone, authorities said. The father also called his cellphone but didn’t get a response. He also called Leite’s family and his ex-wife, and none of them had heard from her.

Federal Way Police were called at almost 9 p.m. that night. They broadcast pictures of Leite and the boy via local television stations.

Seattle Police found the babysitter and the boy, who was unharmed, shortly after 1 p.m. Dec. 15 after an anonymous tip.

Interviews with Leite revealed she allegedly knew she left the apartment with the boy without his father’s permission. She claimed a man she had previous altercations with forced her to smoke crack cocaine. Later, she told police she had smoked the drug on her own, according to authorities.

Leite’s family and the father told police she disappeared for a day about a month earlier with her daughter. They couldn’t get in touch with her. When she made contact with them, she had no explanation of where she had been or what happened, authorities said.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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