MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — A mother and daughter pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree kidnapping in Skagit County Superior Court on Thursday.
Amanda Dinges and her mother Amber Dinges are accused of leaving the country with Amanda's 5-year-old foster child. They face the possibility of 10 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities say the pair fled to Vietnam with the child shortly after Thanksgiving.
About a week earlier, the duo met with the child's biological mother to arrange overnight visits. Shortly after that both they and the boy disappeared.
Investigators were able to track the boy to a city near Hanoi, Vietnam where he was brought back to America and reunited with his biological mother.
Amanda and Amber Dinges were arrested at Sea-Tac Airport about two weeks later. It remains unclear why they took the boy to Vietnam and what the alleged abductors' plans may have been with him.
Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich has personally taken on the case.
At Thursday's arraignment, he said the boy's story tugs at his heartstrings.
"If you've had a 5-year-old, if you lost him, you wouldn't know what to do," said the veteran prosecutor. "We'd like to give a lot of credit to the Mount Vernon police and the federal authorities who helped us recover the child and bring him back."
If there is a trial, prosecutor Weyrich said he believes the mother and daughter would likely be tried together.
In the meantime the attorney for the biological mother told KING 5, Thursday the boy is doing well and is back in school.
In fact, she said he is so happy to be back with his mom that it's hard to get him to go to school some days.
The trial is set for Feb. 21, but prosecutor Weyrich said he doubts the case will get that far, as he expects a plea bargain at some point.