• ‘This could have been prevented,' says father of abducted boy

    By: Gary Horcher


    TACOMA, Wash. - The father of the abducted 6-year-old boy in Monday’s Amber Alert says he repeatedly tried to warn state social workers about the erratic behavior of the boy’s mother.

    Scott Miller told KIRO 7 if case workers with Child Protective Services had heeded his warnings, the violent abduction of his son might have been prevented.

    He says none of his calls were ever returned.

    “Unfortunately, it wasn't that big of a surprise,” Miller said. “I knew something was going to happen at some point. I just didn't think it was going to be like this."

    Miller told KIRO 7 Sandra Bennatts, 34, was showing signs of erratic behavior, and possible mental illness for years. He says she was recently court-ordered to only contact her son, 6-year-old Mason Bennatts Miller—by phone. He says Bennatts made several attempts to take her son from her mother’s Auburn home—where he was court-ordered to live.

    On Sunday night, police say Bennatts broke into her mother’s home, tied and bound her mother at knifepoint, and drove away with Mason in an SUV.

    When Scott Miller saw his son’s picture in the Amber Alert, he wondered if he’d see either Bennatt or his son alive again.  “I didn't think it was going to have a good ending, at all," he said.

    Miller told KIRO 7 he was fighting for custody of Mason for months, but was very careful around Bennatts, with whom he recently shared custody. “When you're dealing with someone like that, you have to be very careful about how you approach it, or my safety's in jeopardy, my son's safety, anyone around us--it was just always going to be a scary situation!"

    Hours after the Amber Alert flashed across the state, King County detectives tracked a cellphone in the SUV Bennatts was driving. She outran deputies, going nearly 100 mph, before she ran out of gas on an access road near Stevens Pass. Bennatts was arrested without a struggle, and Mason was safely taken into CPS custody.

    “He’s doing great,” Miller said.  “I’ll get to see him again tomorrow. As for Bennatts,  I hope she gets the help she needs.”

    Due to the late hour of Miller’s interview with KIRO 7, there was no response from CPS regarding Miller’s comments. When KIRO 7 hears from CPS, we will pass along the agency’s reaction on-air, and online.

    Next Up: