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Port Richey bride arrested after wedding in Michigan

Authorities wasted little time arresting Tammy Lee Hinton, 50, on Saturday, as her booking photos show.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office

Authorities wasted little time arresting Tammy Lee Hinton, 50, on Saturday, as her booking photos show.

Tammy Lee Hinton had just said "I do" when officers stepped in and told her she had the right to remain silent.

Hinton, 50, of Port Richey has been wanted for two years on a Michigan warrant for identity theft, accused of racking up utility debts in her son's name. When authorities got a tip that Hinton would be back in the area Saturday, exchanging vows at the City of Zion Ministries Church in Jackson, Mich. — a city of 33,000 midway between Ann Arbor and Battle Creek — they waited at the back of the church to make an arrest.

"They let her finish getting married and then placed her under arrest," said Jon Johnston, deputy director of the Blackman-Leoni Department of Public Safety.

Michigan authorities say Hinton charged about $3,000 in utility bills in 2009 under the name of her son, Wesley Knauf, then 17. He discovered the debts when he applied for a credit card. Wesley searched through his mother's bills and found many with his name on it, said Hinton's ex-husband, Joseph Knauf.

Hinton left for Florida shortly afterward, Knauf said.

"I don't see how a mother can do that to her own son," said Wesley's stepmother, Karen Knauf. "Wesley is a wonderful child. He's financially making it in this economy with his girlfriend, and they're in the process of buying a house."

The family suspects a subsequent marriage kept Hinton in Florida for a few years, but when that marriage ended, Hinton found herself back at the altar in Michigan.

Hinton's arrest report lists her address as a post office box in Port Richey.

Hinton was booked Saturday at the Jackson County jail, veil, gown and all. Hinton appeared hours later before a judge who let her post $5,000 bail so she could return to the wedding festivities.

"She made it back to the later part of her reception with a court date scheduled for Monday," Johnston said.

Hinton was a no-show for Monday's arraignment, he said. Officers are once again looking for her.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Port Richey bride arrested after wedding in Michigan 07/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 11:04pm]
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