Peninsula News

Father accused of kidnapping kids appears in court

Monday, September 10, 2012
Christopher Maffei Fisherman Russ Ott Robinette spoke to ABC7 News exclusively about how he made contact with the kidnapping suspect. Brooklyn and Devin Maffei  The Coast Guard apprehended a man who allegedly took his two kidnapped children aboard a stolen yacht. Restraining order against Christopher Maffei Christopher Maffei Police say Christopher Maffei, 43, snatched his young daughter and son from their moms home in South San Francisco Tuesday, fled to Alameda, and sailed away on a stolen yacht. There is an ongoing search for a man who apparently abducted his children and took them away on a stolen sailboat.

The father accused of grabbing his two kids from their mother's South San Francisco home and taking off in a stolen sailboat tried to explain his actions to a judge Monday. 43-year-old Christopher Maffei appeared in a Redwood City courtroom to hear the charges in connection with his children. He did not enter a plea but he did speak out in open court and what he had to say has outraged a number of people.

Maffei faces eight felony counts after allegedly kidnapping his two children last Tuesday from their South San Francisco home and sailing off with them in a stolen boat. Law enforcement vessels rescued the children Friday night near Monterey.

When Maffei appeared in court Monday, he spoke out offering, in his mind, the reason behind his actions and perhaps the first glimpse at this legal defense. "With all due respect to this court, my children have been put back to the place where they are being abused," he said. The deputy district attorney says that statement appears to be a self-serving attempt at defending criminal actions.

A boater who helped the Coast Guard track Maffei spoke exclusively with ABC7 News Sunday evening. Russel Robinette said that when Maffei asked him about where to get boat fuel, the father seemed to know he was doing something wrong. "His answer at that time was if I go in there, I'll have to stay, which I found really... another red flag, went up," he recalled.

ABC7News legal analyst Dean Johnson says Maffei singaled in court Monday that he will be aggressive in helping his attorney with a defense strategy. "We know some of the facts, not all of the facts. We don't know his side of the story. There are lots of defenses that can be raised in cases like this and I think this particular case, as we've seen today, could very rapidly become a Petri dish of legal issues," he said.

The mother of the two children, Jen Hippon, said Monday that she is upset by what she called the "outburst in court." She said there is no truth to the allegations. She also said that as a pediatric nurse, she has dedicated her life and her career to helping children, not harming them. She said she hopes Maffei will take responsibility for his actions.

The judge ordered Maffei to be held on $500,000 bail. He is scheduled to enter a plea next week.

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Tags:
south san francisco, alameda, coast guard, children, child abduction, monterey, monterey bay, peninsula news, karina rusk
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