South Florida Mother Accused of Fleeing to California With Children Pleads Not Guilty

A South Florida mother accused of taking her three young sons across the country without permission made her first appearance in Miami-Dade court Monday, where she entered a not guilty plea

Monday, Mar 17, 2014  |  Updated 2:11 PM EDT
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It was an emotional reunion at Miami International Airport Sunday night when three children whose mother is accused of taking them across the country were back with their father in South Florida. Steven Pena's three sons were back in his arms at MIA nearly 10 days after they went missing with mother Carrie Weingarth and her boyfriend, Christian Coello. Weingarth, Coello and the children were found in California Thursday, and the boys were flown back to Miami Sunday night.

It was an emotional reunion at Miami International Airport Sunday night when three children whose mother is accused of taking them across the country were back with their father in South Florida. Steven Pena's three sons were back in his arms at MIA nearly 10 days after they went missing with mother Carrie Weingarth and her boyfriend, Christian Coello. Weingarth, Coello and the children were found in California Thursday, and the boys were flown back to Miami Sunday night.

Photos and Videos

SoFla Mother Arrested in California Ordered to Stay Away From Kids

The South Florida mother who went on the run after allegedly secretly taking her son from his Cutler Bay school and her boyfriend have been arrested in California, a Miami-Dade Schools Police spokesperson said Thursday night. Police said they are working to reunite the three children who were with Carrie Weingarth with their father. At a court hearing Friday, a Miami-Dade judge ordered Weingarth to stay away from the children. NBC 6's Sharon Lawson reports.

Mother Ordered to Stay Away From Kids in Abduction Case

The South Florida mother who went on the run after allegedly secretly taking her son from his Cutler Bay school and her boyfriend was ordered to avoid contact with her children. NBC 6's Justin Finch reports.
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A South Florida mother accused of taking her three young sons across the country without permission made her first appearance in Miami-Dade court Monday, where she entered a not guilty plea.

Carrie Weingarth, 32, is charged with custody interference for taking the children to California last month.

Weingarth became the subject of a multi-state search after she walked into Gulfstream Elementary School on Feb. 14 and without authorization from school officials or her kids' father took 12-year-old son Erin and disappeared along with his two brothers, Steven, age 8, and Derick, age 7.


After a massive search led by Miami-Dade Schools Police, Weingarth and boyfriend Christopher Coello were arrested in Barstow, California.

The kids' father, Steven Pena, who had custody of Erin, said he and Weingarth were in the middle of an ongoing custody dispute. Weingarth had custody of Steven and Derick, until a custody hearing that gave Pena full custody of the younger children.

Miami-Dade School Police took custody of the boys and brought them home on Feb. 23rd.

Weingarth had been ordered held on $300,000 bond but the judge lowered that amount to $100,000 Monday. She's due back in court on March 31.

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