LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Kansas Woman Accused of Identity Deception
Aired July 31, 2003 - 20:14 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The woman who allegedly duped an Indiana family into believing she was their long lost daughter is in police custody tonight; 35-year-old Donna Lynette Walker turned herself into police in Topeka, Kansas, just hours ago.
Authorities say she made prank phone calls to the family of Shannon Marie Sherrill, who disappeared 17 years ago. Authorities say Walker managed to convince them she was Shannon Marie. They learned yesterday that she wasn't and they were understandably distraught as this father was.
We are joined now by Sheriff Richard Barta of Shawnee County, Kansas. That is where Donna Lynette Walker surrendered today.
Sheriff, thanks so much for being with us tonight.
RICHARD BARTA, SHAWNEE COUNTY SHERIFF: You're welcome.
ZAHN: Do you have any idea why Ms. Walker turned herself in?
BARTA: I think the reason that she did turn herself in is on the advice of her attorney. As a matter of fact, her attorney called our office and made arrangements to meet us at the Shawnee County Correctional Facility, where she was arrested at that time, booked into the Shawnee County Jail for identity deception.
ZAHN: Have any of your officers been able to talk with her one on one to gain a better understanding of what her motive was for doing this?
BARTA: No, they have not.
I'll tell you, really, the Topeka Police Department has done the extensive investigation on this. And, actually, we were only involved in the actual arrest.
ZAHN: According to friends of Ms. Walker, she had a long history of cons and trying to disrupt the lives of those around her. Can you confirm any of this as true?
BARTA: I cannot at this time. But, obviously, anybody that would do something like this is -- it's just not normal.
ZAHN: And is it clear tonight how she was able to amass the kind of information she did on the Sherrill family?
BARTA: And, again, since our agency did not conduct that investigation, I really don't have an answer for that.
ZAHN: Can we fast-forward to tomorrow for a moment? Can you give us some insights as to what might happen during this hearing that is set?
BARTA: Well, tomorrow morning, she has a right to hear what she's been charged with and also if she will waive extradition to go back to Boone County, Indiana. But that will be her first appearance.
ZAHN: Well, we thank you for bringing us up to date on the case. I know you have been one busy man today. Sheriff Barta, good luck to you.
BARTA: Thank you very much.
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