The parents of a beauty queen and law student accused of kidnapping and assaulting her ex-boyfriend defended their daughter today in an exclusive interview on "Good Morning America."
"I'm in total disbelief," Kumari Fulbright's father, Fred Fulbright, said. "She's a beautiful kid, she works hard, she's driven."
Kumari, a former Miss Arizona contestant, faces five felony charges, including kidnapping and aggravated assault, after an ex-boyfriend's said that she and three other men threatened to kill him in a dispute over jewelry.
Her parents say the family is shocked and devastated by the charges, which Kumari has denied.
"I mean she has never had a problem with the law," her mother, Valerie Fulbright, said. "This whole ordeal has been traumatizing for her."
Police believe 25-year-old Kumari and three accomplices lured former boyfriend 24-year-old Joshua Conway into her home, where they allegedly held him at gunpoint for nearly 10 hours. Conway claims he was bound and tortured while a knife was in his ear.
"He truly believed he was going to be killed," said Tucson Sgt. Fabian Pacheco. "Besides his physical injuries — bite marks and his hand swollen from being held for several hours — he has some serious psychological concerns."
Kumari disputes the allegations and said she was in the shower when the attack occurred. She said the person behind the incident was a jealous boyfriend, 46-year-old Robert Ergonis.
According to Kumari, Ergonis believed Conway had stolen jewelry he had once given to Fulbright and launched the attack as payback.
"She really got caught up in this perfect storm of ex-boyfriends," said her attorney Marc Beginin.
Fred and Valerie Fulbright said they had met Ergonis and thought he was a nice guy. "He was always respectful," Valerie said. "Our problem was with the big age discrepancy."
Her parents also say Kumari has never had trouble with drugs or alcohol, and her mother said Kumari "despised drugs." Beginin said the police report does not mention drugs or alcohol as a factor in the incident.
The University of Arizona, where Kumari was a second-year law student, has barred her from its campus after she met with college officials Monday, according to The Associated Press. The school's dean of students placed her on interim suspension, the AP said.
Fulbright was released on $50,000 bail and will face a judge next month. The aspiring lawyer's first courtroom appearance is certainly not what she or her parents expected, but they are standing behind her.
"This young lady just wants to get back to school," Fred Fulbright said, who added he and Valerie would continue to love and support Kumari.