Children found unhurt after massive police hunt

By Raja Mishra and Connie Page,
Globe Staff And Globe Correspondent
November 8, 2005

MARLBOROUGH — A frantic hunt for two kidnapped children ended last night
when police found one of them, a 5-year-old girl, inside a suitcase in a
hotel room near Logan Airport, where her mother was trying to hide from a
massive police dragnet.

Five hours earlier, police said, the mother, Catherine Trotta, 38, and an
accomplice, Dennis J. Piper, had wielded a knife and billy club to kidnap
Trotta’s daughter, Grace Trotta, 5, and an unrelated boy, Christian
Borey, 3, from a Marlborough foster home.

About three hours after the kidnapping, Christian was found unhurt in
Malden, police said. Tips led police to Logan International Airport,
where airport employees told authorities that Trotta had unsuccessfully
sought to catch a flight out of the area.

Police found Trotta and her daughter in a nearby Embassy Suites. The girl
was unhurt, police said.

”We’re thankful that the two children have been found, and they both
appear to be fine,” said Marlborough Police Chief Mark Leonard.

However, Piper remained at large last night, with police searching for
him near the airport in East Boston.

Trotta is scheduled to be arraigned in a Marlborough court today on four
counts of kidnapping, one count of assault and battery, one count of
assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and one count of conspiracy.
Piper would face the same charges if caught, police said.

The dramatic hotel rescue capped a frenetic day of searching after the 3
p.m. kidnapping, which triggered an Amber Alert, with flashing electronic
road signs alerting motorists of the kidnappers’ identities and media
outlets relaying the information nearly nonstop all evening.

”I think the Amber Alert was critical. It really gets all systems up so
everyone is focused on locating the children,” said a State Police
spokesman, Lieutenant Eric Anderson.

For hours, it seemed that the pair had escaped police with the two
children. But police were close on their heels throughout the day.

Christian Borey is the son of Rebecca Borey, the foster mother who had
been caring for Trotta’s daughter at her Marlborough home since August,
when a state probate judge ordered the child into foster care, said a
spokeswoman for the state Department of Social Services.

About 3 p.m., Piper ambushed Borey with a billy club in front of her
house on Pleasant Street, police said. He then dragged her into the
house, with Trotta following. Inside, the pair threatened her with a
knife, then tied her up, authorities said. They also ordered one of
Borey’s older children to stay in the house. Then they took the two young
children, police said.

Borey, who state social service officials said was either a relative or a
close friend of Trotta’s, suffered minor injuries not requiring
hospitalization, police said. Her son was unhurt.

As a chaotic chase ensued, police indicated that Trotta and Piper had
switched cars three times.

Marlborough police said they thought they saw Piper running west on Route
20 about 3:20 p.m. They sent police dogs after him, but the dogs lost his
scent. Police determined that the pair had escaped in a white Cadillac
DeVille.

Police said that about 6:30 p.m., they found Christian Borey with a
Malden couple who were friendly with Piper. Piper had dropped off the
boy, telling them he had to run an errand, police said. The Malden
couple, whom police did not identify, had seen news of the abduction on
television and called police.

Two hours later, police found Trotta and her daughter at the hotel, a
sizable police contingent bursting into the room to find the little girl
inside a suitcase. Her mother quickly surrendered.

Trotta has two other young children, both of whom were not in the foster
home yesterday during the kidnapping. Marlborough police said both were
safe.
In August, Trotta lost custody of Grace and another daughter for child
neglect, officials of the Department of Social Services said. They said
they did not know details of her case.

”Obviously, we found her unfit,” said Denise C. Monteiro, a state DSS
spokeswoman, who said Trotta has had extensive substance abuse problems.

Trotta did not have visitation rights to her children at Borey’s home,
but could occasionally see them at DSS offices, Monteiro said. The
children had spent two years at Borey’s home earlier in their lives,
Monteiro said.

She said Borey was close to Trotta’s children. ”They practically grew up
in that house,” she said, describing the foster mother last night as
”traumatized.”

The relationship between Trotta and Piper was unclear last night. Piper
is not her husband and is not the father of the abducted child.
Marlborough police said he has a lengthy criminal record.

Steven Rosenberg of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

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