A Kitsap County Superior Court judge lowered bail from $1 million to $50,000 Sept. 10 in the case of 38-year-old Joshua Lee Susee of Olalla, who is charged with one count of custodial interference.
Susee was booked into the Kitsap County Jail Sept. 19, following a brief time in the custody of San Diego officials after reportedly taking the kids to Ensenada, Baja California in Mexico.
He left the state for months with his four children, failing to return them in early March to the custody of their mother, Madison Belleau.
The prosecution asked that the high bail remain, citing that despite a lack of a serious criminal background, he was a flight risk and a danger to his children.
Criminal defense attorney James White, who entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client, countered that the bail was far too high for the Class C felony charge and also brought into question whether the children were any safer with their mother.
“He is concerned for their well-being,” White said, “and I ask that you keep that in mind when setting the conditions, your honor.”
Kitsap sheriff’s reports say on March 8 a warrant was issued for Susee for reportedly taking his four children, who were then listed as missing.
The report also says the children’s mom was arrested for assaulting one of her children, but no charges were filed. There was a parenting plan for the kids, but Susee petitioned for custody to protect the children. That did not take place as the court ordered the kids be returned to the mom.
Police tried Susee’s dad, girlfriend and employer, Chuck E. Cheese, but could not find him. Police contacted Susee’s mom, who said her son told her not to expect to see them again. She alleged the children’s mother was abusive.
Kitsap judge William Houser lowered the bail and restricted contact between Susee and the children. Susee faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.