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Couple that absconded with kids for several weeks arraigned in Waterbury

WATERBURY —  A Waterbury mother and her boyfriend faced a judge Monday over a month and a half after they skipped town with the woman’s three children and drove into Mexico.

According to the prosecution, the mother may have been planning to take the kids again.

29-year-old Crystal McGrath and her 38-year-old boyfriend, Lester Joy, are facing three counts each of risk of injury and custodial interference.

The prosecutor told the court that the Department of Corrections (DOC) has indicated they are investigating a letter, from McGrath, which indicates she intends to abscond with the children, who are in the custody of one of their grandmothers, again.

Waterbury police say McGrath and Joy took the children from a visit, supervised by the Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), down the East Coast to Saint Augustine, FL to visit McGrath‘s family.

Then, over into Texas and eventually across the border into Mexico, where they were apprehended March 9 in the coastal resort city of Mazatlan.

But, Joy is hoping for leniency.

The prosecutor said he thinks the police are in possession of a statement from Joy indicating he was not involved in the initial contact between the co-defendant and her children.

He claims he was not at the Reidville Drive McDonald’s when McGrath told a DCF case worker she was taking the kids to the bathroom to get cleaned up, but then skipped out the side door.Judge Joseph Schwartz set McGrath’s bond at nearly $600,000.

The bond for Joy is $500,000.

They both were ordered not to have any contact with her children. Joy, like McGrath, has an extensive criminal history, and he is on the national sex offender registry.

DCF says the investigation into the incident, involving a female caseworker responsible for that supervised visit at the Waterbury McDonald’s, is still pending.

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