Photo: Indiana State Police
A 73-year-old Indiana grandmother is on the lam after state police charged her with gambling away her grandson’s entire college fund––$97,000. Authorities believe Edna Sue Pate is hiding out in Minden, La., but because of a Catch-22 law in both states that blocks police from tracking her down, she’s off the hook for now, ABC News reports:
“Louisiana doesn’t want to go to the trouble of nabbing Pate unless it knows Indiana will take her off its hands. And Indiana doesn’t want to go get her, since that would require a special expenditure of money and effort. Normally, Indiana extradites only criminals residing in adjacent states. To go get granny, they’d have to make a special trip.”
That trip will cost a pretty penny, which is why the student’s father, Thomas C. Smith, has launched a website to gather enough donations to fund the manhunt.
Smith claims his son, Christian, inherited a $100,000 trust from his grandfather back in 2003, which was left to Pate as trustee. As early as 2004, Smith says records show Pate started siphoning funds from his son’s account and steadily gambling it away at local casinos.
“[sic] In 2005 I began asking her for an account statement showing the balance of his trust. But she refused. Oddly, other people around Pate did nothing while this happened,” Smith wrote on his site. “No one close to Edna Sue Pate lifted a finger to intervene or stop the looting of my sons trust. I begged them to urge or convince Edna Sue Pate to give me an account statement.”
Smith filed a civil suit against Pate in 2011, soon after Christian graduated from high school. When his efforts to reach her failed, he filed a complaint and police issued a warrant for her arrest. She’s been charged with four counts of theft.
A probable cause affidavit filed in May a Griffith, Ind., police detective claimed Pate “withdrew more than $97,000 from 2004 to 2007,” according to Fox News.
As it stands, both states are squabbling over what exactly to do with their joint fugitive.
“If they [Indiana] will not extradite, then it doesn’t do us any good to arrest her,” a law enforcement official told Minden Press-Herald. “It’s illegal for us to arrest her if we are not a surrounding state. Our hands are tied.”
As for Smith, he’s already agreed to fund Indiana’s expenses to send police after Pate. He’s planned a July 13 fundraiser and hopes to raise several thousand dollars.
“Sometimes the people have to band together and rise up against the inadequacies in our system,” he says. “This web site represents my refusal to accept the systems status quo or its inadequacies.”