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Winter Black-capped Chickadee

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Burgener trial begins Tuesday

by KTNA Staff ~ January 10th, 2011

The trial of Mary Joe Burgener, formerly of Talkeetna, is set to begin tomorrow morning in Palmer Court.

Burgener is accused of taking her child out of state and not notifying the father, as well as unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

On August 22nd , 2008, a warrant for custodial interference was issued by the state of Alaska.  Burgener was supposed to bring her daughter to meet with her father,  as part of a custody arrangement for the two parents. He discovered that his daughter wasn’t at camp where she was supposed to be and ultimately contacted authorities.  It was discovered Burgener had purchased two plane tickets to Seattle.  The FBI became involved as it was apparent that Burgener had crossed state lines.  On March 24, 2009 a federal arrest warrant was issued.

In June of 2010, Burgener was arrested during a routine traffic stop in Missouri. She identified herself as Mary J. Pepper.   When it appeared to the officer that Burgener appeared far too nervous for just a missing front license place, he made further inquiries.  Pepper was an alias listed on police records and Mary Joe was taken into custody.  Burgener’s daughter was returned to Alaska to be with her father.

Burgener was extradicted and was held at Hiland Correctional Facility.

The case will be held in front of a jury trial in Judge Vanessa White’s courtroom.

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