Alleged Kidnapper's Mental Fitness Questioned - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Alleged Kidnapper's Mental Fitness Questioned

The woman who allegedly kidnapped a toddler from Ocean Springs in late October, once tried to commit suicide, says her attorney Stanton Fountain.. 21-year old Ulanda McCulley pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges. After getting a February 5th trial date for his client, attorney Fountain told Judge Lou Guirolla he is concerned about McCulley's mental state. Court records show she tried to commit suicide when she was 12 years old, and then spent the next six months hospitalized for depression. Fountain said "I think she's competent to understand, but when I asked her if she'd been treated for mental illness she told me no. When I find out different, it causes me to question how capable she is of assisting in her defense."

McCulley and her ex-husband, Brian McCulley, are both charged with taking 22-month old Emily Propps from her parents on October 24th. Tbe child's disappearance launched a nation-wide search, while investigators dug into the couple's past. Police say the McCulley's are transients from Missouri. Court records show there is an outstanding warrant against Ulanda in Missouri on forgery charges. The McCulley's met Emily and her parents at a Gulfport truck stop. That's where Ulanda filled out a job application that helped police confirm her identity. The night before the Emily disappeared, Emily's parents say they camped out with the McCulleys at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Three days later, authorities got a tip from a truck driver, and found Emily unharmed at a Houston, Texas truck stop. Police say the McCulley's were using her to panhandle money. Ocean Springs police charged the couple with kidnapping. After a brief stay in foster care, Emily was reunited with her parents. Emily's parents were not charged in the case. 

Brian McCulley was not in court Tuesday.  He is being treated for an undisclosed illness.  The judge rescheduled his arraignment for December 20th.

 

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