Local/State

Kidnap hoax raises airport security questions

Friday, May 29, 2009
Bonnie Sweeten and Jillian Jenkinson Larry Sweeten

As police investigate the kidnapping hoax allegedly pulled off by Bucks County mom Bonnie Sweeten, there is one part of the story that is raising red flags about airport security.

Sweeten called 911 on Tuesday, to say she and her daughter had been kidnapped after a traffic crash. Later, she was seen on security video at Phladelphia International Airport boarding a plane of her own free will with her daughter. Both were eventually found by the FBI in Orlando, Florida.

RELATED STORY: The latest on the Bonnie Sweeten case

Investigators say Sweeten bought a ticket and made her way through security using the identification belonging to friend and co-worker Jillian Jenkinson.

Jenkinson told Action News that Sweeten told her she needed her license to roll over an old lawfirm 401k, that Jenkinson said is now missing $4,000.

Jenkinson bears a resemblance to Sweeten.

Sweeten sold her daughter, Julia Rakoczy, as Noel Jenkinson. At age 9, Julia did not require identification to fly domestically as long she was accompanied by a parent.

RELATED: Photos of Bonnie Sweeten and Julia Rakoczy

FBI sources say Sweeten paid cash for the one-way tickets to Orlando.

When questioned by Action News on Thusday, the TSA claims Sweeten's successful escape from Philadelphia was not a security lapse.

A TSA spokeswoman said :"Our officers are trained to establish the legitimacy of travel documents and a government issued I.D., as apposed to fake credentials or ones that have been tampered with, and to make sure the name on the boarding pass matches the one on the I.D. Considering how Sweeten and Jenkinson look, no one can criticize our officers for not questioning whether it was the same person."

Sweeten faces charges of identity theft.

A source says Sweeten is not facing any federal charges at this point, even though it is a federal crime to fly on an airliner using false identification.

However, the potential for those charges still exists.

Jenkinson, like everyone else involved, is baffled that this is happening.

"There must be some serious issues going on for her to do something like this," Jenkinson said. "I don't consider her a malicious person."

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