'Abducted' Mom Is Freed After Posting Bail

Bonnie Sweeten posted $100,000 in cash, 10 percent of her $1 million bail.

May 30, 2009 — -- Bonnie Sweeten, the Pennsylvania woman accused of faking her own abduction and fleeing to Florida with her daughter, was released from Bucks County Jail today after she posted $100,000 in cash, 10 percent of the $1 million bail a judge ordered.

The judge set the bail Friday evening at Sweeten's preliminary arraignment in Richboro, Pa., on misdemeanor identity theft and false reporting charges, after her arrest at an Orlando, Fla., hotel room following a visit to Disney World on Wednesday.

A Philadelphia-area judge said he set the bail because he considered Sweeten, 38, a flight risk. The judge also ordered that Sweeten's visits with her three children be supervised.

Sweeten's attorney said she is not a flight risk.

"She wasn't under house arrest," defense attorney Louis Busico said. "She went on a plane with her child to the most popular vacation destination in the country. It's not a flight risk."

The bail was unusually high for someone facing misdemeanor charges, but the prosecutor said the circumstances of the case warranted it.

"Although it's only misdemeanors," Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry said, "the bottom line [is that] her 911 call spurred on a nationwide law enforcement manhunt."

Authorities allege Sweeten called 911 Tuesday and falsely claimed she and her daughter, Julia Rakoczy, 9, were carjacked after a minor traffic accident in Upper Southampton Township, Pa., and stuffed into a car trunk.

But as officials followed up on the alleged emergency in Bucks County, Pa., they believe Sweeten actually was traveling with her daughter to Disney World under the name of a former co-worker. Police claim Sweeten drained several bank accounts and took the former co-worker's driver's license before boarding an Orlando-bound flight.

Sweeten waived her extradition rights at a hearing in Orlando Friday morning and agreed to face charges in Pennsylvania.

Friday's hearing was a preliminary arraignment. Sweeten's formal arraignment is expected to come within a month or two and will be heard by a common pleas judge in Doylestown, Pa.

Domestic Problems, IVF Treatments to Blame for 'Abducted' Mom's Alleged Hoax?

Sweeten's husband, Larry Sweeten, said he is wondering if his wife's erratic behavior can be traced to fertility treatments she has been receiving.

He said his wife has been emotional since receiving in-vitro fertilization treatment. The treatment led to the birth of Sweeten's now 8-month-old baby.

"I know when you do in-vitro, you take hormone shots and it messes with her, messed with her extremely," Sweeten said Thursday.

But fertility experts say the chances are slim that the fertility treatments that Bonnie Sweeten likely received roughly 17 months ago, given the age of her child, had anything to do with her actions.

"I am not familiar with any psychosis associated with IVF treatment," said Dr. William Gibbons, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He added that though he could not say conclusively that such a connection would be impossible, the link "would seem to be a reach" as after 17 months "the effects of the IVF should be long gone."

Dr. James Goldfarb, director of Infertility Services at the Cleveland Clinic Health Systems in Ohio, agreed. "The hormones would be extremely unlikely to cause this type of behavior, even while [Sweeten was] actually on the hormones," he said. "The hormones would not have any direct long term emotional effects."

To those who know Sweeten, the alleged actions seem out of character.

"I think it is terrible, but there has got to be a reason. She was kind and generous," said acquaintance Lydia Demetrio.

Father and Daughter Reunited

Sweeten's ex-husband, Anthony Rakoczy, was reunited with his daughter Julia Thursday afternoon at an Orlando police station.

Julia, who seemed unfazed by the drama that had unfolded around her, just wanted to discuss her favorite Phillies baseball player, Brad Lidge. She eagerly rattled off his statistics after her father picked her up.

"His birthday is Dec. 23, and last year he had 40 saves and 48 save opportunities. And his number is 54," she said.

Father and daughter flew back to Philadelphia where police escorted them off the plane.

"I feel great that I have my daughter back," he said, "but I feel bad for her mother."

Domestic, Financial Problems Behind Disappearance?

Rakoczy was stunned by his ex-wife's actions but told "Good Morning America" Thursday that Sweeten has always been a good mother and that she has many friends.

"I just think she just kind of lost it a little bit," he said. "I've known this woman for a long time and she's always been very together. ... I just want to say Bonnie is a great mom and whatever happened is not Bonnie."

"Good Morning America" flew Rackoczy down to Florida to be reunited with his daughter, and flew father and daughter back home Thursday.

"I just want to move forward like normal, every day," Rakoczy said. "Back to school, back to work. Put this behind us."

Julia is the younger of his two children with Sweeten. Their other daughter, Paige, is 15. Rakoczy said he would like for Julia to eventually be able to go back to her old life with her mother, once Sweeten gets some help.

"I would never do anything to not let these kids be in her life like they were before," he said.

Michelle Henry, the district attorney in Bucks County, Pa., where Sweeten lives with her second husband, Larry Sweeten, and her three children, said Sweeten's initial description of her attackers has not sat well with some people.

Law enforcement officials knew very early on that some suspicious details just didn't add up. Their hunch was bolstered when Sweeten's SUV was found with no evidence of damage.

As for a motive, Henry said investigators are still trying to piece together the entire story.

"We do believe it could have been domestic problems with her husband as well as financial problems," she said.

Police have told ABC News that Sweeten appears to have taken about $12,000 from various bank accounts in the days before her disappearance.

The priority all along, Henry said, was making sure that 9-year-old Julia was safe and returned to her family.

"This is a case that's unusual in a sense that she makes this very serious report of kidnapping," Henry said, noting that the hunt for Sweeten and her daughter involved everyone from FBI to Disney World security. "Because of that it does have some bizarre twists."

Investigation Into Bonnie Sweeten's Alleged Abduction Hoax Continues

In all, Sweeten made seven calls to 911, claiming that both she and her daughter had been struck by another car before being put into the trunk.

She also placed a call her to her husband's cell phone and left a tearful voicemail, describing the carjacking and how she feared for her life. On the message she told her husband she loved him and asked him to tell the children she loved them if she didn't see them again.

According to court documents, Sweeten used former co-worker Jillian Jenkinson's driver's license when she bought airline tickets to Orlando after reporting the abduction. She obtained the license Tuesday by telling Jenkinson that she needed to photocopy it in order to roll over Jenkinson's 401(k) account. Jenkinson expected to get her license back later that day.

As the investigation developed, investigators became increasingly skeptical of her abduction tale, which was told against the backdrop of a probe into Sweeten's alleged involvement in the theft of about $300,000 from her former employer, an attorney in Upper Makefield Township, sources close to the investigation told ABC News.

One of the first pieces of information that called her version of events into doubt was the fact that cell phone records indicated that her frantic call to 911 dispatchers reporting her kidnapping in Bucks County originated from a location in Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood, and not from a suburb 25 miles away where she lived.

Then an airport video was discovered that allegedly showed her boarding a plane for Orlando at about 3 p.m., a little more than an hour after she reported being abducted.

ABC News' Stephanie Sy, Imaeyen Ibanga and Emily Friedman contributed to this report.