With Kidnappers Like These, Who Needs Social Workers?

James and Emma Somerset came to Miami to rescue their son's girlfriend. They wound up going to jail for kidnapping.

At the arraignment on November 10, the State Attorney's Office dropped charges against James and Emma Somerset and Kenya Patterson. James was already out of jail and needed only to have the house-arrest bracelet removed. Emma and Kenya were released two days later. (Emma was sentenced to time served for the theft and was ordered to pay restitution.)

Last week James Somerset's mother scraped together enough money to send Kenya, Kristal, and her two youngest children back to Columbus by bus. (James and Emma are staying behind to await the outcome of Kinta's attempted-murder charges; he was granted house arrest and is staying with James's mother.) Still, many questions remain for the Somersets. Having lost their apartment, where are they going to live once they get back to Ohio? Will they be able to salvage their reputations? (James notes that, among other community activities, he was a member of the family advisory board of Children's Hospital in Columbus.) What are they going to do for transportation? Will they be able to regain custody of their grandchildren?

Somerset also has some questions for the law-enforcement officials he believes are responsible for his family's travails. He says the family is contemplating legal action, though he's not sure yet what form it will take. "I'd like to know why," he says. "Why destroy a family's life when you know it never happened? I would really like for them to answer that question for me. I'm really appalled at how much taxpayers' money they spent to bring us this far, knowing that the crime never happened.

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