Q: What punishment was levied on Melody Jane Rushton as a result of her setting up the kidnapping of infant Frankie Proctor in 1993 in Sacramento? I believe she pleaded guilty to kidnapping as well as other crimes.
Kathy, Fair Oaks
A: Melody Jane Rushton pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges stemming from her role in the abduction of 7-month-old Frankie Proctor in April 1993 and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Testimony at her sentencing revealed that Rushton, who was 18 at the time of the kidnapping, suffered from psychological problems, according to a story in The Sacramento Bee. Obsessed with becoming a mother, she duped then 20-year-old Ethan Walker, a longtime friend, and a 17-year-old boy into carrying out the kidnapping. According to court records, Rushton, who had suffered a miscarriage, convinced Walker and the teen that her baby had been stolen.
Walker and the teenager went to the Oak Park home of Kenneth Proctor and Carol Gustin on April 19, 1993, and knocked on the door. Wearing ski masks and armed with a sawed-off shotgun and an 11-inch knife, they stormed the house and held the family at bay. In an attempt to throw off investigators, they demanded to know where drugs and money were hidden. But their real target was the infant, who was snatched from a sofa as the family was herded into a back room.
The baby was found several days later by a multi-agency strike force of officials from the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, FBI and state Department of Justice. The child was found unhurt in Rushton’s boyfriend’s Del Paso Heights apartment.
Walker and the teenager also pleaded guilty in plea bargains. Walker was sentenced to nine years in prison. The 17-year-old, whose name was not released because of his age, was sentenced to a minimum of 10 months at the Sacramento County Boys Ranch.