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Mother of Missing Teens Charged with Kidnapping

By Emily Girsch.
The mother of two teenage girls who disappeared 11 months ago has been charged with second degree kidnapping.

Cindy Fortner, 46, of Homer, pled not guilty to the charges in a court arraignment at the Town of Conklin Court on Friday night.

This was the second arraignment for the case.

On Thursday night, Amanda Hellman, 29, of Vestal, was charged with second degree kidnapping after the teens were found at her house at 327 Torrance Avenue.

New details reveal that Fortner was allegedly in a relationship with Hellmann and aided and abetted in the kidnapping.

"At the time that the girls were picked up, there was a court order in place and the mother Cindy and her girlfriend Amanda were not authorized to have custody," said District Attorney Steve Cornwell following the arraignment.

Fortner cried uncontrollably during the court proceedings as she was read the charges and then sent to the Broome County Jail.

Fox 40 spoke exclusively with Amanda Hellmann's aunt today who said that the girls had run away from foster care, and they were not kidnapped by Amanda.

"These kids were not kidnapped. Trust me. They were not kidnapped," said Parlene Bucinell.

"They left the school grounds and went with her willingly. As a matter of fact, they probably called her if I had to guess."

Bucinell also said that they had not stayed at Amanda's house for 11 months.

"The police have been here at least a dozen times and searched this house probably more than a dozen times, have searched this house and these kids were not found here. This is a tiny house, they had no place to hide, so they know that they have not been here for 11 months."

Cornwell said that Fortner had also lied to police during the investigation by not revealing where the girls were.

"She had been interviewed many times over the past 11 months," he said.

"She could have disclosed some information that led to the girls."