Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Icelandic woman admits to escape (The Press Republican)

Icelandic woman admits to escape
Published January 26, 2010 10:06 am
Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH — An Icelandic woman has admitted prompting a massive local manhunt after she escaped federal custody on an immigration offense.

Linda Bjork Magnúsdóttir was set to go on trial this week in connection with her early November escape, which happened after she was taken into custody for trying to cross the Champlain border.

The 42-year-old was located at a Plattsburgh convenience store on Route 3 about eight hours after she fled from a federal magistrate’s office, located downtown.

Authorities said Magnúsdóttir somehow managed to leave the building undetected after she asked to use the restroom.

After a multi-agency search, police took her into custody when some area residents recognized her at Maplefield’s as the wanted fugitive.

She has been held at Clinton County Jail without bail since then and recently returned to federal court, where she admitted to the charges against her.

Prosecutors said she will likely receive 12 to 18 months in prison when she is sentenced on May 10.

At the time of her arrest, Magnúsdóttir claimed she was trying to get into New York to visit her daughter, who lives downstate.

But because she had been removed from the country several years ago, she is considered an inadmissible alien.

Icelandic media has reported that Magnúsdóttir was once a leader of a religious cult, which later went “belly up” after she allegedly had an affair with a younger member of the congregation. Her former husband was reportedly the preacher of that group.

Officials have not released any additional information about the circumstances of her escape and will not say whether any federal agents were disciplined over it.

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