The black convertible was headed west on Interstate 26 when S.C. Highway Patrol troopers pulled it over Thursday morning. Inside were two women and a 4-year-old girl, who the pair are accused of taking from Westview Primary School in Goose Creek.
Neely Blanchard, 26, of Russellville, Ky., is accused of removing her daughter from the school. Blanchard does not have legal custody of the child. Custody belongs to the child’s paternal grandmother, according to police.
It happened at around 8:15 a.m., before classes began, according to Berkeley County School District officials.
Police said Blanchard was joined by Ferdauss Rahmatullah, 25, of Jacksonville, Fla. As the pair tried to leave the school with the child in a black convertible, a school employee attempted to stop the car and was injured, according to police.
Rahmatullah was accused of causing those injuries and was charged with first-degree assault and battery as well as trespassing, disturbing school and conspiracy to commit custodial interference.
The child’s mother, Blanchard, was charged with trespassing, disturbing school, custodial interference, conspiracy to commit custodial interference and unlawful possession of Schedule IV narcotics. Police said they found Blanchard with prescription pills and that she had them illegally.
The child’s maternal grandmother, Susan Blanchard, said that the family has been involved in a custody dispute with the child’s father and his mother.
The incident at the school alarmed some parents who were concerned about the police presence. School district officials said no security procedures were circumvented.
District spokeswoman Susan Haire said parents were told through the phone notification system.
Christa Buchan, a parent of two Westview Primary students, said she had seen police on campus and then got the automated call about an hour and a half after she found out about it on Twitter.
“I was a little disheartened I had to find out on Twitter,” she said. “I’m relieved they sent the automated message, but it would have been nice to get something sooner. Even if it didn’t have a lot of details, something like ‘there’s an incident at the school and don’t be alarmed.’ ”
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594.
A car sits at the Goose Creek Police Department that was involved in a student abduction at Westview Primary School Thursday morning, May 2, 2013. (Brad Nettles/postandcourier.com) 5/2/13×
A student at Westview Primary School was taken from the school Thursday morning, May 2, 2013. (Brad Nettles/postandcourier.com) 5/2/13×