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Pair in abuse case land on most wanted list

The Allains failed to show up for the start of their trial Tuesday. The Sheriff's Office and one of their lawyers were searching for them Wednesday.


Wednesday started with the Allains getting put on the top of the "most wanted" list on the Hernando County sheriff's Web site.

It ended the same way it began.

With the couple still on the lam.

"I can tell you that we are still actively looking for them, and that they have not turned themselves in," sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Donna Black said late in the afternoon. "We are following up on any and all leads that we receive."

Lori Allain, 49, and Arthur "Tommy" Allain, 47, both charged with child neglect and aggravated child abuse, were scheduled to stand trial starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. But they didn't show up in Circuit Judge Jack Springstead's courtroom in Brooksville.

Wednesday morning, on the "most wanted" page at www.hernandosheriff.org their mug shots sat ahead of men wanted for raping an incapacitated person, possession of cocaine, burglary, battery, criminal mischief, molestation and exploitation of the elderly.

The Allains were originally arrested on June 18, 2004, and charged with starving a 10-year-old girl until she weighed just 29 pounds.

The girl, authorities say, was kept behind a double-locked door near the rear of a mobile home set back from a limerock road in northwest Hernando's sparse landscape of wire fences and lots of "no trespassing" signs.

The Allains were the girl's "long-term, nonrelative caregivers," approved by the state Department of Child and Families, and face a eight to 30 years in prison if they're found guilty.

Wednesday, at 11:15 a.m., Tiffany Staab answered her home phone. She is the Allains' 27-year-old daughter who lives in Spring Hill. She was asked if she knew where her parents had gone.

"I wouldn't help you guys even if I could," Staab said. "I have nothing else to say to any of you guys."

A little later in the morning, Mark Young, a friend of the Allains, returned a reporter's message.

"I haven't heard anything from Tom and Lori, but I just spoke with the detective," Young said.

He said that he had heard that one of the Allains' two attorneys had heard from them.

"And that they were going to turn themselves in," he said. "That's all I know. That Lori called somebody."

That somebody was the secretary of Elliott Ambrose, Arthur Allain's state-appointed attorney.

The secretary said that she had heard from Lori Allain on Tuesday. But she also said that was all she could say.

Ambrose was away from his office and in dependency court Wednesday.

Detective James Bettineschi, meanwhile, was out looking for the Allains.

"I will arrest them," the Hernando Sheriff's detective said midday when reached on his cell phone. "It's just a matter of time."

Michael Kruse can be reached at mkruse@sptimes.com or 352 848-1434.

2005 Oct 26