Parents charged with kidnapping schools chief

The Associated Press
Saturday June 23, 2001

LUCERNE VALLEY — Two parents barged into a school superintendent’s office, handcuffed him, announced he was under citizens’ arrest and drove him away in their vehicle, authorities said Friday. 

Sheriff’s deputies pulled them over 10 miles away, freed the schools official and arrested the couple, who said they were taking the superintendent to the district attorney’s office. 

Carl Williams, 45, and wife Kathy Williams, 48, were charged with kidnapping, conspiracy and false imprisonment. 

The couple — who have five children, ages 7 to 17, in school – had been complaining about district policies for a decade, Jim Wheeler, superintendent of the school system in this community 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles. 

Two months ago, the unemployed couple sent a 15-page letter accusing school officials of giving sexually explicit material to students, among other things, Detective Norm Neiman said. The letter set a Tuesday deadline to resolve the problems. 

On Wednesday, investigators said, the couple barged into Wheeler’s office. With his wife videotaping, Carl Williams handcuffed Wheeler, Neiman said. 

“We have the video. You can see his fear and disbelief in what was going on,” the detective said. 

They forced him into their sport utility vehicle and drove down a highway past a sheriff’s station, Neiman said. 

Bail was set at $100,000 each. Kathy Williams was released on bail Thursday. They were not immediately appointed a lawyer. 

“It was a freaky morning,” said Wheeler, 61, who suffered only a wrist rash from the handcuffs. 

“It’s a bizarre thing,” said Neiman. “I believe they are the type of people who read the Constitution and local laws and interpret it the way they want to. I can’t explain it.” 

School district attorney Hector Salitrero said he planned to seek a restraining order to keep the Williams couple away from Wheeler.