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Teen agrees to counseling for ‘01 Astoria kidnapping – QNS.com

Teen agrees to counseling for ‘01 Astoria kidnapping

By Dustin Brown

An Astoria teenager who abducted a 5-year-old neighborhood girl for 10 hours last summer is expected to enter long-term psychiatric care after pleading guilty to unlawful imprisonment charges last week, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Natasha Collins, 17, of 27-25 First St., snatched Mariam Issouf from the front of the child’s Astoria apartment building July 10, 2001, and brought her in a cab to Manhattan, where police found them later that evening, according to the criminal complaint filed by the D.A.’s office.

She pleaded guilty May 8 to a reduced charge of unlawful imprisonment, a spokeswoman for the district attorney said.

She originally had faced more severe charges of kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child, but these charges were dropped in the plea agreement, the spokeswoman said.

Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 12.

The D.A.’s office has recommended Collins be sentenced to six months in jail—time she has already served—and held for long-term psychiatric care, the spokeswoman said. She also would be on probation for five years.

Collins has been in custody since July 11, held alternately at the women’s facility on Rikers Island and at the Elmhurst Hospital Prison Ward, which treats inmates who need medical or psychiatric care, said Tom Antenen, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. Her bail had been set at $100,000.

Collins had approached Issouf when the young girl was standing with her 9-year-old brother in their courtyard at 27-10 Eighth St. at 10:30 a.m., the complaint said.

Collins, who knew both children, pushed the brother aside and grabbed Mariam, whom she took in a taxi to Central Park and then brought by subway to her boyfriend’s apartment in Harlem, where she was apprehended by police.

She had given her cell phone as collateral payment to the cab driver, who returned to Astoria and reported the incident when she failed to bring back money, police said at the time.

According to the complaint, Collins told officers she abducted the girl “because she likes children and wanted to spend time with Mariam.”

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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