Grandmother Feared for Child's Safety

May 13, 2003
Posted at: 10:50 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, Ark. -- One day after a maternal grandmother was charged with aiding in the kidnapping of her granddaughter, her lawyer and one of her daughter's spoke out.

Edith Walker spent the night in the Greene County jail on Monday night after being taken into custody for allegedly assisting Walter Berlet Mitchell in the kidnapping of 5-year-old Jewel Mitchell on May 8. Walter Mitchell is the non-custodial father of the child. Police believe that Walter and Jewel Mitchell are in the Houston, Texas, area.

Walker's attorney and daughter say Jewel's grandmother is being wrongly accused, and that Walker was just looking out for the well-being of her granddaughter and is not a kidnapper.

"My mom has always been here for us girls," Mary Joann Moore, one of Walker's daughters, said. "And her conspiring to kidnap or anything like that? No she wouldn't."

"She was not trying to aid or assist anyone in kidnapping this child," said attorney Randall Miller, who is representing Walker.

Miller admits his client did lead Walter Mitchell to his biological daughter, but says the intent was not to kidnap.

"She did very much believe her granddaughter was in an abusive environment," Miller said. "Not because of her daughter, but because of the person her daughter is living with or actually now married to.

Walker had previously maintained custody of Jewel Mitchell, before her daughter, Valery Greer, recently took custody of the missing girl. Greer is also married to Jerry Don Greer, who was previously married to Edith Walker. Valery Greer has a second child by Jerry Don Greer.

"What can you say about a woman who married her dad and had a kid?" Moore asked. "That's what (Walker) was looking at."

According to Miller, when Walter Mitchell, Jewel's biological father, contacted Walker, she was "very excited about the idea that not only her granddaughter would be removed from what she believed to be an abusive environment, but her daughter (as well)."

However, things didn't go as planned, according to Miller. Mitchell fled with only his daughter and hasn't been seen since.

"I would hope that he would have the decency to tell the story as it happened," Mitchell. "And that all he told her was that all he was trying to do was convince her daughter to come back to him. And if he were to do that will go a long way toward exonerating her."

Walker will have a bond hearing either Wednesday or Thursday. Her attorney says she has been fully cooperative with authorities, but authorities say her stories never matched up.