LARNED — At the conclusion of a one-day trial in Pawnee County District Court, it took a jury 12 minutes Wednesday to convict Christina Warren of a felony charge of interference of law enforcement.
The 59-year-old Larned woman lied to police officers last December when they came to her home looking for her grandson, who was a suspect in a teenage girl’s disappearance, and the girl.
Pawnee County Attorney Doug McNett, who presented the State’s case, said the charge against Warren stemmed from a missing teenager report from Garden City in December of 2017.
Warren’s grandson, Anthony Riojas, 22 of Garden City, had been reported by the teenager’s family as a suspect in the girl’s disappearance. As a follow-up to that report, Larned Police Chief Charles Orth went to Warren’s Larned residence during the noon hour of Jan. 22, 2018, to look for the missing teenager. According to testimony presented at trial, Warren advised Chief Orth that Riojas and the teenage girl were not there and that she had not seen them in a month and a half.
After some discussion, Larned police officers were allowed to search the residence except for a room that contained two large dogs.
Detectives from the Garden City Police Department came back to the Warren residence later in the day and located Riojas and the teenage girl hiding in Warren’s residence. Once in custody, the girl informed detectives she had been brought to Larned against her will and had been staying at the Warren residence. She also confirmed she was in the room with the dogs when Chief Orth tried to locate her.
The jury made up of nine women and three men deliberated for approximately 12 minutes before returning a guilty verdict for knowingly providing false information to law enforcement, McNett stated in a news release. Following the verdict, District Judge Bruce Gatterman advised Warren she has 14 days to file a motion for new trial. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. Warren remains on supervised bond release.
Her charge is a severity level 9 non-person felony. According to Kansas sentencing guidelines, it typically carries a sentence between five and 17 months, depending on the defendant’s criminal history.
Guilty of kidnapping
In March, Riojas entered a “no contest” plea in the Pawnee County District Court to kidnapping, a severity level 3 person felony, and battery, a class B person misdemeanor. He was originally charged with a single count of aggravated kidnapping. Riojas was sentenced to two years with the Kansas Department of Corrections. He remains in the custody of the Finney County Sheriff on local charges.
Also charged in conjunction with the investigation was Jayden Warren, 20 of Larned. He later entered into a felony criminal diversion for felony interference of law enforcement.