LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- After an alleged staged kidnapping in Lincoln County made headlines across the world, family members of the young victim claim whatever they did was only to protect the boy.
Since the four suspects in the case were arrested they have been held on $250,000 cash only bond.
The suspects include the boy's mother Elizabeth Hupp, 38-year-old Denise Kroutil, 58-year-old Rose Brewer and 23-year-old Nathan Firoved, who allegedly took the boy off the street. The victim supposedly believed Kroutil to be his aunt and Brewer to be his grandmother, though neither are blood relatives.
While the suspects claimed they were trying to teach the boy a lesson because he was "too nice," many saw the alleged kidnapping as a traumatic event. An attorney for one of the four said his client misguided, but not sinister.
The case’s prosecutor called Kroutil something of a ringleader in the staged kidnapping, but the judge reduced her bond to $100,000.
Brewer's bond was reduced to $50,000 after her poor health and life-long residency were mentioned.
Under the condition of having no contact with children, Firoved's bond was reduced to $100,000. Hupp's bond was also reduced to $100,000.
Lieutenant Andy Binder of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said it is important for children to have trusted adults in their lives and to be able to identify who they are.
"I'm a trusted adult for the kids in my neighborhood," said Lt. Binder, who has taught more than 5,000 children about stranger danger.
Hupp has her next court appearance in March and the other suspects have court dates in April.