The wife of Pennsylvania man accused of checking a teen out of school and taking her to Mexico spoke out publicly for the first time since his arrest on Monday morning.
ABC6 reports that Stacey, the estranged wife of Kevin Esterly, said she had no idea her husband had plans to flee with a 16-year-old earlier this month, much less take the teen girl to Mexico. Yet, she did admit that she reached out to the teen’s mother previously, after she noticed Esterly and the girl had been communicating frequently.
“I never had any inkling it would lead up to this. I did reach out to her mother, just saying I didn’t want [her] around as much, around my family and my children. We thought the communication had stopped.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Pennsylvania police issued a missing persons alert for the teen after she disappeared on March 5, reportedly after Esterly signed her out of school. Esterly had already been warned to stay away from the teen.
Kevin Esterly arraigned early this morning. Sent to Lehigh County Jail under $500,000 bail. pic.twitter.com/fZdWyXdEtO
— Riley Yates (@riley_yates) March 25, 2018
Miu Yu, Amy’s mother, said that prior to March 5, she called school officials at Lehigh Valley Academy Charter School in Hanover Township, Northampton County, to inquire about Esterly illegally checking her child out of school. The school’s administration couldn’t confirm whether Esterly was on the list of approved adults to check Amy out of school, but a warrant taken out for his arrest indicated that he checked her out of school at least 10 times between November 13 and February 9, without her mother’s consent.
According to New York Daily News, Gary Hammer, of the Colonial Regional Police, indicated that Amy listed Esterly as her stepfather, which allowed him to check her out of school. The pair are said to be in a secret relationship that Amy’s family initially had no idea about.
Amy’s little brother, John, said that his family met Esterly several years ago during a church function. Esterly became a sort of father figure to the teen girl, as Miu is raising her children as a single mother. At first, according to John, the family felt Esterly was a nice man simply wanting to help the family out. At some point, however, the relationship between Esterly and Amy reportedly turned romantic.
Stacy told ABC6 that although she initially trusted her husband, she grew suspicious when he rented an apartment not far from the teen’s home.
“I always believed my husband. I would never think that he would be doing anything to harm me or my children, but it got to the point in December, I had found out that he had rented an apartment four blocks away from [the teen’s] house,” Stacy continued.
Yet, nothing prepared her for what happened when Esterly disappeared. He kissed her goodbye and told Stacy he would see her soon, then allegedly withdrew a large sum of money from her bank account before disappearing.
“On March 5th, I last seen him when I was leaving for work. I kissed him goodbye,” Stacy said. “He said, ‘Have a great day at work. I’ll see you when you get home.’ That was the last time I’ve seen him.”
Esterly was caught in Playa del Carmen on March 17. The teen was with him, according to authorities. Police arrested Esterly and charged him with interference with the custody of a child, a felony. After being extradited back to Pennsylvania, a judge set his bail at $500,000.
Stacy says she has plans to divorce.
[Feature Photo: Kevin Esterly/Police Handout]