Image: Madlyn Primoff
White Plains Police Department  /  AP file
The lawyer for Madlyn Primoff says she never meant to abandon her two daughters.
updated 4/24/2009 7:51:11 PM ET 2009-04-24T23:51:11

The woman who allegedly ordered her squabbling young daughters out of her car and drove off  returned quickly to the scene expecting to pick them up, her lawyer said Friday.

Madlyn Primoff, 45, simply drove around the block in downtown White Plains but the 10- and 12-year-old girls were gone when she returned, defense attorney Vincent Briccetti said.

"She wasn't abandoning her children," he said. "She expected to find her children."

Briccetti said the older girl had begun walking home — three miles away — and the younger girl was apparently taken in hand by a passer-by who called police on Sunday evening.

Primoff, a partner in a Manhattan law firm, was arrested and charged with child endangerment. She is free on bail and due back in court next month.

Primoff has become the focus of a debate about how to deal with the common family dilemma of children angering a parent by fighting in a car. Most mothers questioned near the scene this week sympathized with Primoff's situation but disagreed with driving off.

Briccetti said that when Primoff put the kids out, she told them they would have to walk home but didn't mean it. When she couldn't immediately find the children, she drove home, picked up her husband and her father and resumed the search, Briccetti said.

They found the 12-year-old walking home, but not the younger girl, so they returned home and called Scarsdale police to report her missing, Briccetti said. Scarsdale police said the mother did not give them the details about how the child got lost.

At about the same time, Scarsdale police heard from White Plains police that the girl was safe.

When Primoff went to White Plains police headquarters to pick up the girl, she was arrested. Police described the 10-year-old as upset and emotional.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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