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LOS ANGELES : Bail Waived for Mother in Child-Stealing Case

A woman accused of stealing her child in an unusual custody dispute was released from jail Wednesday after a judge found her to be an unlikely flight risk because she has lost all parental rights, including visits.

Although freeing Catherine F. Thomas, Los Angeles Municipal Court Commissioner Abraham Khan ordered that she remain under close supervision and wear an electronic monitoring device that will alert authorities if she comes within 200 yards of her 5-year-old daughter, Courtney, whose custody was awarded to a former family friend with no biological ties to the child.

Thomas, 46, had been held at the county jail’s Sybil Brand Institute for a week since her return from Pittsburgh, where she was seized with her daughter Sept. 17 after a seven-week disappearance. Charged with felony child abduction and probation violation for having fled with Courtney once before, she had been unable to post the $120,000 bail Khan set last week.

Kevin Thomas, a 43-year-old bill collector, successfully sued for paternity rights to Courtney after he and her mother, once close friends, had a falling out and she began denying him visits with the child.

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