On the way home from North Carolina yesterday, Keisha Lynn Smith and her brother, James Allen Smith, practiced for the reporters who would show up and ask what it felt like to be kidnapped from school.
Keisha, 5, and James, 7, were driven home from Beaufort, N.C., early yesterday morning by their mother, Brenda Patterson, 28. The children were abducted Wednesday from Graceland Park-O'Donnell Heights Elementary School by a family friend.
Two young adults and a juvenile have been arrested in the case. No clear motive has been established.
"We had 'em acting like reporters, talking into a soda bottle like it was a microphone," said Donna Patterson, the children's aunt, who drove down to North Carolina with her sister. "We knew what it was going to be like today with all the reporters."
But Keisha and Jamie, staying with their mother and relatives in a Noble Street row house in the High landtown area of East Baltimore, didn't have much to say yesterday as they scampered around the house and pointed to their picture in the newspaper and waited to see themselves on the TV news.
"They don't know that they were abducted," said Donna Patterson. "When they were removed from school, they were told they were going on a vacation and that their mother knew about it."
Emmanuel Clark, 14, of the 200 block of Conkling Street in Highlandtown, was arrested at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and charged as a juvenile in connection with the abduction of the children at the school. Emmanuel is the younger brother of Brenda Patterson's boyfriend.
Emmanuel's girlfriend, Toni Marie Tennyson, 18, of the 800 block of Brunswick Road in Essex, and her brother, Timothy Wayne Tennyson, 20, of the same address, were charged with kidnapping and abduction for allegedly driving Emmanuel and the children to Ms. Tennyson's mother's house in Beaufort.
The three were in North Carolina jails last night.
Brenda Patterson, operator of a mobile hot dog stand, was exhausted from the nine-hour trip to Beaufort Friday afternoon -- and the return trip early yesterday. She did not talk much, allowing her sister, Donna, to do most of the talking. Neither had any idea why the children were taken, they said.
"We'd have a headache if we had to keep thinking about why he took them," Donna Patterson said.