Berkeley County fugitive Neely Blanchard is being held in a Pennsylvania jail after being taken into custody Thursday by the U.S. Marshals Service in the Pittsburgh area, authorities said.
Berkeley County sheriff’s Capt. Rick Ollic said Blanchard was picked up at a friend’s house and was being held in the Allegheny County detention center, where she was awaiting arraignment on a fugitive from justice charge.
Ollic said he was waiting to hear from Pennsylvania prosecutors on whether she plans to waive extradition or fight her return to South Carolina.
The 26-year-old mother of three told The Post and Courier on Wednesday that she was already planning to return to the Palmetto State to meet with her new criminal attorney in the wake of a mix-up that allowed her to walk out of Berkeley County’s jail on Nov. 25 while awaiting trial on a variety of charges.
Blanchard insisted she didn’t know anything was wrong when jail officials set her free, and that she had always planned to return to face trial and continue fighting for custody of her eldest daughter, 5.
“I am not trying to run away,” Blanchard said Wednesday. “I am a great mom and I am fighting for my baby.”
Blanchard, who also has 1-year-old twins, is accused of trying to drive off with her then-4-year-old daughter without permission in May from Westview Primary School in Goose Creek. Blanchard was charged with custodial interference because her daughter’s paternal grandmother has custody of the girl, authorities said.
She also was cited for drug possession in the incident, though she maintains she had a prescription for the pills she had.
Blanchard, who has given addresses in Florida, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, got out of jail in July after posting $75,000 bail, but a judge tossed her back behind bars Nov. 18 for violating the conditions of her release, court documents show. Among other things, she was accused of giving a friend in Goose Creek 20 Xanax pills to call 911 on Nov. 12 and falsely report that her daughter was being abused at her paternal grandmother’s home, authorities said.