King County prosecutors filed felony charges against Sandra Bennatts on Thursday for allegedly hogtying her mother, kidnapping her 6-year-old autistic son and prompting an Amber Alert before running out of gas on Highway 2.
Bennatts, 34, was originally ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bail, but at prosecutors’ urging a judge increased her bail to $1 million based on her alleged “careful planning” of her crimes and her likelihood to commit another crime and flee if released, according to jail and court records. She is charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and first-degree custodial interference.
Bennatts lost custody of her son several months ago due to child neglect, possible mental health issues and drug abuse, and the boy’s grandmother was his foster parent, say charging papers. Bennatts also took her son to Tijuana, Mexico in February before family members could intervene and bring the boy back, charging papers allege.
Charging papers say Bennatts waited for her mother and son to return to her mother’s Auburn-area home around 8 p.m. on Sunday. When the two returned from a haircut appointment, Bennatts “ran full speed” at her mother, knocking her down a flight of stairs, then dragged her by her hair down a second flight of stairs where she “had prepared tools” for her mother’s capture, according to the charges.
Bennatts’ son “was horrified as he watched this incident unfold,” and screamed, cried and begged Bennatts not to hurt his Nana, the papers say. He brought blankets and chocolate milk to his grandmother and refused to leave her side when she told him to run to a neighbor’s house, according to the charges.
After ransacking the house of camping gear, jewelry and other valuables, Bennatts is accused of taking off with her son in her mother’s Acura SUV, the papers say. Her mother, who was hogtied in a storage room with her shoulders and knees in the air, was able to rub the bindings on her ankles against a saw to free herself after about several hours and, with her hands tied behind her back, ran to a neighbor’s for help, charging papers say.
Bennatts is accused of driving 100 mph to elude Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies, who terminated their pursuit before she ran out of gas and was arrested Monday by Chelan County deputies, the papers say.