A former babysitter of 2-year-old Lyndon Albers has been accused of kidnapping the toddler and leaving her by the side of the road with a shaved head. Massachusetts State Police arrested Abigail Hanna, 21, at her home in Topsfield, Massachusetts, on the night of November 21. Less than 24 hours after Lyndon Albers disappeared from her home in Hamilton. Police have not given a motive for the crime.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Psychiatrist Told a Massachusetts Court That Hanna Doesn’t Understand the Charges Against Her
During her appearance in court on November 23, a court psychiatrist told a judge that the accused is not fit to stand trial, that she doesn’t understand the charges, and can’t work with an attorney. He added that she suffers from hallucinations, both audio and visual, and has a history of suicide attempts. The doctor then said that while he interviewed Hanna, she sat on the floor. WCVB’s Kelley Tuthill reported that Hanna has been remanded to Worcester Recovery Center and could be due back in court next week depending on doctor’s recommendations. There is no bail.
2. She Got Engaged on November 5
According to her Facebook page, Hanna got engaged on November 5, a little over two weeks before Lyndon Albers was kidnapped. Her fiance’s name is Nathan Wolters. She says on her page that she studies English Literature at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts and that she also works as a counselor there. A source from the school told Heavy.com that she is no longer a student at Gordon College. She wrote poetry and posted links to her work on Facebook, one called “Ribbon,” goes “Reaching towards an / Infinite wasteland, I / Begged for release. / Broken in motion and / Onward instead, yet / Never to find peace.”
On Wolters’ Facebook page, Wolters says that he works as a custodian at the school and is also a student at Boston Architectural College.
Hanna is a native of Boston. She is well traveled, according to her Facebook page, having lived previously in London and studied screenwriting at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California.
Her former school, Gordon College, is a Christian university that was involved in a controversy in 2014 over legislation that prohibited federal institutions from giving contracts to businesses that discriminate on the basis of sexual practice. The school’s president, Michael Lindsay, said he regretted signing a letter that involved the college in the controversy. Gordon College officially banned “homosexual practice” but said it was reviewing that that ruling.
The Boston Globe reported in 2014, that the school’s alumni were standing up for gay rights at the school.
3. She Has Battled ‘Depression & Body Image Issues’
A high school classmate of Hanna’s from Connecticut told the Boston Globe that the suspect had suffered with “depression” and “body image” issues. That friend added that there was nothing to suggest she would do anything like kidnap a toddler. According to Hanna’s Facebook page, she attended a Christian prep school, The Master’s School, in Connecticut. The class mate told the Globe:
I didn’t expect something so severe to happen. Especially because it seemed like after high school she had more support from others, and was doing what she wanted to do…. I was honestly just shocked.
CBS Boston reports that Hanna has been charged with kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a child and breaking and entering. She is being held without bail. Investigators say that Hanna broke into Albers’ home at around 2 a.m. with a weapon on November 20.
Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens had earlier said that officers didn’t believe the crime was random and said there was no threat to other local children.
WCVB’s Kathy Curran reports that she was found naked, her head shaved with bruises and a shaven head. Her condition was not initially revealed when she was found. Stanley Forman tweeted that she was rushed to a local hospital. NECN reports that she was taken to Beverly Hospital and then taken to Boston Children’s. Her condition is said to be stable.
My Fox Boston reports that the state police Air Wing and K9 units were involved in the search for little Albers. NECN adds that roads have been closed around Hamilton. She was found alone by the side of the road in Rowley, Massachusetts.
NECN reports that Massachusetts State Police have served a search warrant at Albers’ home. That search began at 2:45 p.m. Eastern time. Later, WCVB reported that a search warrant had also been executed at Hanna’s home. That station says that officers began questioning Hanna shortly after Albers disappeared.
At a press conference, Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens said “As a parent, I feel very much for these parents, so I’m happy that we reunited her with her family.”
4. Her Family Said They ‘Will Continue to Care for Abi’
Prior to her November 23 appearance at Newburyport District Court, Hanna’s family put out a statement that read:
We are so thankful that (the girl) is improving and wish her and her family complete healing in every way. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We also will continue to care for Abi, whom we love very much. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of both families in this very difficult time.
Meanwhile, Albers’ family also released a statement via CBS Boston:
We have suffered a horrific ordeal. We are grateful to have our daughter back. We are extremely thankful for the incredible efforts to rescue our daughter by the Police and all emergency responders. We are extremely grateful to the kind couple who found our daughter. We are extremely thankful for having the best family, friends and community supporting us through this difficult time.
We are asking for privacy out of respect for the young ages of our children, and out of an understanding that as parents we need to be able to restore a sense of calm, comfort, and normalcy for the well being of our children.
5. The Couple Who Found Her Didn’t Know if Albers Was a Boy or Girl
The town of Hamilton is about 30 miles north of Boston. The town of Rowley is around 5 miles away from Albers’ home. WCVB reports that she was found by a couple who weren’t sure if she was a boy or girl. They put a coat around her and called the police. They were later identified as Tom and Marge Crosby of Ipswich, Massachusetts, reports the Boston Herald. They were en route to a store they own in Amesbury. Marge Crosby told the Herald, “Tom says ‘I think I just saw a baby on the side of the road.’ I said ‘What, are you crazy?” While Tom says “I don’t want to say a vision but that’s what it was — a vision. I drove by and then quickly it flashed through my head. I said ‘Was that a baby or was it a doll?’…We didn’t know if it was a girl or a boy. It looked like a boy right away.”