ELIZABETHTOWN — A Plattsburgh father has admitted that he forcibly took his infant daughter from her foster home, sparking the area's first Amber Alert.
James Drake and his girlfriend, Maria Trombley, have been facing charges since July, when they reportedly went to their 5-month-old's foster home in Jay, violently harassed her caretaker and took the baby.
The alleged kidnapping became the focus of a massive nationwide search and led to the couple's capture in Tennessee a few days later.
Their daughter was not harmed during the ordeal.
Both Drake and Trombley were later indicted on a number of charges, including custodial interference and second-degree kidnapping.
Drake recently returned to Essex County Court and pleaded guilty to first-degree custodial interference.
According to Essex County Assistant District Attorney Hilary Rogers, the 24-year-old is due back in court for sentencing Jan. 27.
Prosecutors plan to recommend a sentence of six months in jail and five years of probation, though Drake could face up to four years in prison on the felony charge.
Trombley, who is pregnant with her second child, remains jailed on the indictment, unable to post bail.
The 22-year-old Morrisonville woman is expected to return to court this week for a hearing after her attorney filed a motion to have the case dismissed in the interest of justice.
Trombley is expected to give birth within the next few weeks.
Her attorney, Reginald Bedell, has said the couple never threatened to harm the child but were trying to protect her.
The couple has disputed the circumstances in which their daughter was temporarily removed from their custody.
The girl is now in the custody of Drake's relatives.
After he pleaded guilty, Drake was released on his own recognizance pending sentencing.