Chesapeake restaurant owner says she was scammed by grandmother arrested for child abduction

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 30, 2014

Chesapeake, Va. - A Chesapeake restaurant owner says a grandmother accused of child abduction also took advantage of her.

Terry Omeni was arrested in Chesapeake over the weekend after she was found at a hotel with her 4-year-old granddaughter, Sabrina.

Sabrina was supposed to stay with her grandmother over the summer until July 16th but Sabrina’s family in Missouri had reported her as missing and endangered after Omeni had called her mother claiming that she didn’t have enough money to get Sabrina home.

Once Omeni heard the police were looking for them, she called Chesapeake Police to let them know where she was.

She was arrested and served with a “Fugitive from Justice” warrant based on the child abduction and an outstanding fraud warrant from Delaware.

When Chesapeake restaurant owner Sheila Esthay heard about Omeni’s arrest, she was horrified and angry.

“That has to be a mother’s worst fear, not knowing where their child is,” she says.

Esthay owns Grandpa Joe’s Restaurant in Chesapeake and says Omeni also took advantage of her and her husband’s generosity.

Esthay says on Friday, Omeni, who had been to their restaurant a few times, asked to borrow money.

She said she would write them a check that could be cashed Monday and that she just needed help getting by for a few days, so they gave her $100.

“We’ve been in unfortunate situations before and you know, we’re willing to help anyone,” Esthay says.

When Monday rolled around, Esthay says she went to cash the check but wasn’t able to. Then they saw the news of her arrest.

“I just had chill bumps, you know, just chill bumps all over,” she says.

Esthay says that’s because of comments they remember Omeni making about her 4-year-old granddaughter.

“She said she’d get the granddaughter back to Missouri when she got her back and then that day she actually told my husband that she wasn’t taking the granddaughter back,” she says.

That’s a stark difference from what Omeni told NewsChannel 3 on Tuesday night from inside the Chesapeake City Jail.

“Trust me, Sabrina was on her way home,” she said.

Esthay says she and her husband were also upset to learn that along with a pending child abduction charge, Omeni was already wanted for fraud in Delaware.

And now we’re learning more about why she was wanted.

According to police in Delaware, Omeni was wanted for failing to appear in court on three separate charges.

In one case, they say she got $3,000 from a woman while pretending to be a lawyer for U.S. Immigrations.

“We were just so disheartened and so we should have trusted our gut instincts,” Esthay says.

Omeni remains in the Chesapeake City Jail awaiting extradition. She will be extradited to Missouri first, then Delaware, based on the severity of the charges.