HAVERHILL – A grandmother who was recently missing with six grandchildren for several days until police found them safe in Randolph has been released on a number of conditions following a hearing on Monday in Haverhill District Court.
Deborah Conway, 58, of Dorchester was initially charged in Haverhill District Court on May 15 on two counts of kidnapping and endangering a minor by a relative and one count of harassment of a police officer in connection with her missing grandchildren . She was held without bail pending a hearing on Monday.
An investigation into the missing children began on May 10 when Haverhill Police responded to a report of child abuse. The victim, a 13-year-old girl, told police that her mother, Jameka Conway, and her stepfather, Cypher Great, had abused her and her seven siblings. Both Conway and Great were arrested and arraigned on May 11.
The location of the couple’s six youngest children was unknown at the time, police said, and the parents and other family members, including the children’s grandmother, Deborah Conway, did not cooperate in efforts to locate them. Police found the children in the town of Randolph on May 13 and noted they were safe.
Court officials said the couple’s eight children are under the supervision of the Department of Children and Families.
At Monday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Cal Skeirik pleaded for $10,000 bail for Deborah Conway, citing her obstruction of the police investigation into the missing children, the many law enforcement agencies involved in the search and her attempt to to negotiate with the police to return the children “on her terms,” he said.
Deborah Conway’s lawyer, John Fraser of Andover, argued for her release based on personal acknowledgment or personal security, saying she has close ties to the community, no convictions, no money for bail, no risk of flight is actively seeking employment and has a history of complying with court orders.
Judge Cesar Archilla found the woman dangerous but released her on the condition that she stay away from and have no contact with her grandchildren, that she also stay away from and have no contact with her daughter, Jameka Conway, 37, of 74 Columbus Park in Haverhill , or at Cypher Great, 37, also of 74 Columbus Park.
Archilla also set a “personal bond” bail on Deborah Conway at $5,000, which court officials said she is not required to pay in order to be released at this time, but may need to be paid if she does not show up for her next hearings. The judge has scheduled a hearing for June 28.
Both Jameka Conway and Cypher Great are co-defendants in the case.
As a result of the abuse investigation, police charged Jameka Conway with five counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against a child under the age of 14; one count of witness intimidation; an assault and battery count; and one count of threatening to commit a crime, according to police records. Cypher Great was charged with four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon on a child under the age of 14 and one count of threatening to commit a felony.
Although judge Cesar Archilla found the two defendants to be dangerous to their children, he decided not to hold them without bail under the statute of peril.
Instead, during dangerousness hearings on May 16, Archilla set bail at $10,000 for both Jameka Conway and Cypher Great, but revoked Conway’s bail on a pending case in Peabody District Court. Court officials said if Conway solves her case in Peabody, where she has an open robbery case, she will be eligible for bail in Haverhill.
When they are released on bail, Archilla sets a number of conditions, ordering the couple to stay away from and have no contact of any kind with any of the children, no abuse, nor contact witnesses or Conway’s mother .
Both Jameka Conway and Cypher Great are due to appear in court on July 12 for hearings.