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Friday, June 30, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM


Mother who took baby son released

Seattle Times staff writer

Tina Marie Carlsen, the mother arrested for kidnapping her 9-month-old son from a hospital before he was to undergo surgery last week, was released from King County Jail on Thursday morning after agreeing to conditions that limit contact with her son.

Carlsen appeared in King County Superior Court in a red jail jumpsuit and pleaded not guilty to second-degree kidnapping. Halfway through the 20-minute hearing, she turned to smile and blow kisses at supporters in the audience.

Judge Ronald Kessler released Carlsen on personal recognizance after she agreed to stipulations that include not seeing her son unless allowed by Child Protective Services and living with her mother, Kathy Carlsen.

Prosecutors had originally asked for a $500,000 bail for the 34-year-old Sumner woman, but on Wednesday said they would not oppose her release.

Carlsen was charged with kidnapping after she put her son, Riley Rogers, in a diaper bag and smuggled him out of Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center. A statewide Amber Alert was issued and Carlsen was arrested on Saturday.

State Child Protective Services had taken custody of the baby on June 9 after Carlsen refused to agree with doctors' advice that Riley, who has a kidney condition, needed immediate surgery that would make him ready to start dialysis.

On Thursday, Child Protective Services decided to allow Carlsen supervised visits with the baby.

Kathy Spears, state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) spokeswoman, declined to say how much supervision.

Riley has been returned to Children's Hospital; a Pierce County judge has ordered the surgery.

Late Thursday, Carlsen and leaders of Citizens for Safe Birth rallied for a last-ditch effort to halt Riley's surgery, now scheduled for 11 a.m. today, according to the family.

Michael Shipley, Carlsen's Tacoma lawyer in the battle to regain custody of Riley, said he would file a motion in Pierce County Superior Court early today asking for an emergency stay to the surgery.

Debra O'Conner, of Citizens, said supporters were also appealing to Gov. Christine Gregoire through an e-mail campaign waged from the group's support Web site, Supporters have said Carlsen is a devoted and natural-minded mother who dotes on Riley, feeding him organic food and using cloth diapers. She was concerned about the side effects of dialysis and surgery, and wanted to explore other treatment options, her friends and family say.

Riley's father, Todd Rogers, who was ordered to have no more than four hours of supervised visits with the baby each week, has defended Carlsen.

After her arrest, Carlsen, who breast-feeds, sought the support of women's advocates and friends and family in order to continue providing milk for Riley.

Megan Tormey, a friend of Carlsen's, said Thursday she was angry that it took four days to get a working breast pump into the jail.

"If the doctors were so concerned about Riley's health, why weren't they demanding his milk?" she asked.

Kathy Carlsen said she was relieved that her daughter was being released but that worry over Riley's welfare continues.

"It's going to be hard for the whole family," she said. "The next step, hopefully, is to get Riley back."

Seattle Times staff reporter Carol Ostrom contributed to this story.

Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company




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