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Toronto Family of woman charged in baby abduction 'very concerned,' lawyer says

Michelle Gopaul -

modelmayhem photo/modelmayhem photo

The tearful mother of a New York model charged in a bizarre baby abduction at a movie casting call was in a Toronto courtroom as her daughter appeared briefly Tuesday.

Michelle Marie Gopaul, 24, is accused of snatching a one-month-old baby girl after taking part in what appears to have been a bogus casting call for a Bollywood movie last week.

Ms. Gopaul appeared in green jailhouse garb as her lawyer Gary Batasar asked that the case be put off until next Tuesday to give him time to prepare.

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Police allege a one-month-old baby girl was abducted last Thursday night after her parents took her to a casting call for a movie shoot that had been advertised on Craigslist. The unharmed baby was returned to her parents a few hours later.

Outside court, Mr. Batasar said Ms. Gopaul was not denied bail during her court appearance on Saturday and in fact had not yet had a bail hearing.

"She is in jail, she is obviously upset," he said of his client.

Mr. Batasar said the case is still in the preliminary stages and he was still waiting for documents from the prosecution.

"This matter will be tried in the courts, not in the media," he said.

His client is "doing well" and is being supported by her family, despite what he called the "traumatic circumstances," he said.

"The family members are obviously very concerned about her well-being and we're here to do the best we can here for her."

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Ms. Gopaul's visibly upset mother, who had travelled to Toronto from New York to attend court, admitted it was a difficult time. She said she was "very sad" but didn't want to speak with the media.

Mr. Batasar said he expected U.S. consular officials to be in touch with his client at the earliest opportunity.

The fact that Ms. Gopaul and her relatives are American citizens complicates the case in terms of finding a surety, who must be Canadian or have property in Canada, he said.

Police have said the baby's parents reported her missing after taking her to a casting call for a movie. They allege a woman claiming to work for the casting agency told the parents she would keep an eye on the child but the parents soon discovered both she and their baby were missing.



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