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AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — An Aurora mother now stands charged with kidnapping and sexual assault, after vanishing for a month with her three young sons and a former student.
Laureth “Laurie” May, 29, was being held on $500,000 bond at the Cook County Jail Thursday.
May was found on March 20 in Ft. Pierce, Fla., with her three small boys – Quincy Collins, 4, Oliver Collins, 2, and Spencer Collins, 1 – and her former student, Destiny Gruba, 17, of Cicero. None of them had been seen or heard from since Feb. 15.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports
May had been fired from her teaching job, and got into a fight with her fiancé, Shelton Collins, on Valentine’s Day. Afterward, she hopped into her station wagon with their children and left the following day, apparently picking up Gruba on the way.
The Cicero girl is a former student of May, who was employed at Acacia Academy in LaGrange Highlands, in unincorporated western Cook County.
When they were found, Aurora police said they did not plan to file charges. But Cicero police thought differently.
They said their investigation found May engaged in sexual relations with an underage female student — whom police would not identify — while she was employed at the school. She began teaching the student, who was then 16, in September 2011, police said, and the relationship turned sexual in December.
The children are now with their father, who told the Aurora Beacon-News that he thought May’s bond was unfairly high, and that the allegations are out of character for her.
May suffered from post-partum depression and was unstable after losing her job, Collins said.
“She’s a good mother. A good fiancée,” he said.
“She had problems with alcohol. Three kids in four years. The economy. It’s a lot,” he added.
He said May was not thinking clearly when she took the children.
“She’s not in her right mind,” Collins said. “She needs her day in court.”
Collins said he has not seen May since she left Aurora with their sons. He flew to Florida to get the boys after they were found. He said the boys were in good health when he met them.
“The kids think they went on a vacation. But to me it (was) something totally different,” Collins said.
Collins said he does not believe May would have a sexual relationship with a student.
“I really don’t. Laurie’s the type of teacher who really got to know her students … but I don’t think it’s anything sexual,” he said.
May was charged with kidnapping and criminal sexual assault after the charges were approved by the Cook County State’s Attorney.
Police said May gave a full account of the events surrounding the multi-state travels with her three sons and the Cicero teen, as well as details of the relationship between her and a student. May waived extradition in Florida and was transported to Illinois last week.
The Aurora Beacon-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)