Woman on abduction charge

By MORGAN TAIT


Leeanna Marie Hodgetts blew kisses to the family she "abandoned" when she appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday on charges relating to her two-week disappearance with a Hawke's Bay teenager.

Hodgetts faced one charge relating to abduction and one of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle but the details of a third charge were suppressed by JP Alison Thomson yesterday afternoon.

The 39-year-old Hastings mother-of-two turned herself into Featherston police on Tuesday evening, after leaving the region with a 14-year-old girl.

The pair did not make contact with friends and loved ones, sparking a co-ordinated police effort across the North Island to locate them.

The teen turned up at Duart Rest Home in Havelock North on Monday and was driven to Hastings Police Station by a staff member there.

Hodgetts' legal council Eric Forster sought name suppression to protect her school-aged children.

Police prosecutor Nigel Wolland said: "She abandoned [her children] not so long ago in pursuit of these charges she faces. All those aware of the situation are aware of everybody involved."

Hodgetts did not seek bail and was remanded in custody until her next appearance on June 19.

When she left the dock, Hodgetts blew kisses to half a dozen family members supporting her in the public gallery.

The relatives said they were still in shock from the ordeal that was out of character for the doting mum and "awesome chick".

"This is a big shock," said one woman. "Nobody has a clue what has gone on but our hearts go out to both families. We really feel for that family."

The family said they had had no contact with Hodgetts during the last fortnight until a phone call from police on Tuesday.

"We just know what the police told us and now we just have to soldier on really, we've got to keep going and be there for the kids and for the family.

"We don't even know how to deal with this, it is definitely hard to deal with."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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