Accused kidnapping parents return to Queens

Nephra Payne Senior (far l.) and his girlfriend Shanel Nadal (far r.) are back in New York on charges of kidnapping their eight children. Photos courtesy of NYPD and Harrisburg City Police
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The fugitive parents who allegedly kidnapped their eight children out of a Forest Hills foster care center last month were brought back to Queens last Thursday and placed behind bars while they wait for their trial, the Queens district attorney said.

Shanel Nadal, 28, and Nephra Payne, 34, were being held on $75,000 bail each after they were arraigned on kidnaping, custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child charges, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

On Sept. 19, Nadal was visiting her seven sons, who are all named after their father, and sole daughter at the Forestdale foster care center in Forest Hills when she allegedly sneaked off with them with Payne’s help and fled the state, according to the DA.

Police eventually found the couple and the children, who had been placed in foster homes by the city Administration for Children’s Services for undisclosed reasons, a week later in Harrisburg, Pa.

“Now that the defendants have been returned to Queens County, they must face the consequences of their alleged actions,” Brown said in a statement.

The children were not harmed during their week on the lam, which included a stop in South Carolina, before they were returned to the city, according to ACS. Their ages range from 11 months to 11 years.

Police said the children were living in cramped conditions inside the van and Nadal and Payne made them use pads instead of visiting bathrooms.

Officials at Forestdale declined to comment about the couple’s extradition. Since the incident, the center, at 67-35 112th St., had tightened its security and had extra guards watching the exit and entrances.

An administrator said she was cooperating with ACS in its investigation into the kidnapping.

The couple’s attorney said his clients tried to get in touch with ACS to get their children out of the foster homes because they were allegedly being abused, but the city could not verify his claims.

Queens Criminal Court Judge Ira Margulis ordered Nadal and Payne to return to court Tuesday, Brown said.

“This mother and father sadly risked the relationships they were building with their children during supervised visits when they allegedly kidnaped them. This is a serious matter,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 8:13 am, October 20, 2011
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