A woman accused in a multimillion-dollar armored car heist on the Las Vegas Strip surrendered to federal authorities Thursday, saying she was tired of more than a decade on the run and wanted her son to have a normal life.
"I truly feel this is the right thing to do," Heather Catherine Tallchief, 33, said before turning herself in at the federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas.
Tallchief was 21 and working for an armored car company when, authorities said, she drove away from the Circus Circus hotel-casino with at least $2.5 million in cash.
Her lawyer, Robert Axelrod of Meriden, Conn., said Thursday that there was no doubt Tallchief committed the October 1993 robbery.
He said she had been influenced by her boyfriend Roberto Solis, whom Axelrod described as a manipulative ex-con.
Tallchief made a brief appearance Thursday before a U.S. magistrate judge, who ordered her held without bond on nine felony charges.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 29. If convicted, Tallchief faces at least 30 years in prison.
Tallchief told reporters that she and her 10-year-old son had been hiding in Amsterdam, where she and Solis fled after the robbery.
A few months after their son was born, Tallchief said, she left Solis, now 60, with the cash and has no idea where he is now. Solis remains a fugitive in the case.
The morning of the robbery, Tallchief said, she followed orders from Solis, including which streets to drive the armored car from the casino to a rented garage.
The couple, wearing disguises, escaped by flying in a private jet to Denver. Tallchief said Solis did not physically threaten her.
"I was under strict instructions," Tallchief said, adding that Solis told her to "follow these orders, listen well, carry these plans out without fail."
Court records say Tallchief took a position as a driver and armed guard with Loomis Armored Inc. fewer than six weeks before the robbery. Solis and Tallchief had false U.S. passports and California, Nevada and Colorado identification cards under fictitious names.
Federal warrants were issued for Tallchief and Solis on charges including bank larceny, conspiracy, fraud and flight to avoid prosecution.