Dec 20, 2012 7:46 PM by Andy Koen

Suspect told detectives mother asked her to keep child for "a couple days"

COLORADO SPRINGS - The woman accused of taking a Colorado Springs toddler and triggering an amber alert was formally advised of the charges against her. Tonia Shetina, 38, is being held at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center on $200,000 bond for charges of 2nd Degree Kidnapping and Motor Vehicle Theft in the disappearance of 2-year-old Essence Lovato.

According to the arrest warrant, the child's mother Casey Cooper, 18, was arguing with her boyfriend on Monday outside of their home in the 400 Block of E. Kiowa when Shetina arrived. The girl was already in Cooper's green Honda Accord and said she asked Shetina to drive the girl to her father's house a block away.

Her father said Shetina never showed up. Cooper tried calling her several times but she wouldn't answer.

Authorities found Shetina with Essence yesterday at home in the 6500 block of Chaps View in Fountain. A friend of Shetina's lives there.  He called the police yesterday after seeing the Amber Alert and told investigators Shetina showed up at his door in the middle of the night with the girl and said she was in trouble and needed a place to stay.

When detectives questioned Shetina she said Cooper asked her to take the girl for a couple of days and that Cooper's boyfriend had robbed her and a friend at gunpoint.

The argument and disappearance happened Monday night, but Cooper didn't report the child as missing until Tuesday. She said that she thought she had to wait 24 hours before filing a missing persons report.

Shetina was previously arrested in October 16 and charged with three counts of motor vehicle theft from a case out of Teller County. She has yet to stand trial on those charges.


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