Mom held on ‘man act’ rap

BY DEREK ROSE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

A heavyset woman abducted her young children and then pretended for years
to be a man, even telling her kids to say she was their father,
authorities said yesterday.

U.S. marshals caught up with Shellie White, 30, on Friday in Roanoke
Rapids, N.C. – more than two years after she fled Arizona with her two
kids.

“She doesn’t look like her ex-husband, but she told her kids, ‘Yeah, I’m
Daddy’, and the kids were young enough, it was plausible,” said Deputy
U.S. Marshal Dennis Harkins. “It’s pretty bizarre.”

The children were 3 and 5 at the time of the abduction in Phoenix nearly
three years ago.

Dusty, now 6, and sister Erica, 8, asked the marshals “why they were
arresting their daddy,” the U.S. Marshals Service said.

“I just want to see them and hug them and love them,” their father,
Ernest Karnes, told reporters before their joyful reunion yesterday. “I
just want to take my babies back home.”

Under the terms of their divorce, Karnes had custody and White had
visitation rights, said Gila County, Ariz., Detective Johnny Holmes.

In a jailhouse interview with The Associated Press, White said that
Karnes had given her permission in 2003 to take the children out of state.

The stocky White, who wears her hair very short, also said she told her
son to tell kids who made fun of her appearance that she was his dad.

But the Marshals Services’ Harkins said White had used the names of her
husband and other men.

“She was playing it off for all the world to see that she was a man,”
Harkins said.

Authorities also said White had been eluding authorities for the past two
years, moving from Arizona to Virginia to Connecticut and then finally
North Carolina.

Yesterday White agreed to waive extradition to Arizona, where she faces
kidnapping charges.

With News Wire Services

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