Hijacking Suspect’s Daughter Identifies Mother as Fugitive
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A woman who as an infant was strapped to her mother’s back while she hijacked an airliner to Cuba confirmed the identification of her mother as a fugitive 19 years later, FBI agents say.
Dakeeta Grinage, 20, of New York City, confirmed for investigators that an old photograph of a woman known as Haziine Eytina was really that of her mother, Linda Joyce Grinage, who was wanted on air piracy charges, FBI agent Steven Grimaldi said Wednesday.
Linda Grinage, 39, had been at large since the 1969 hijacking of an New York-to-Miami flight with 146 people aboard.
The hijackers, a male and a female, held a 2-year-old boy hostage and forced the Eastern Airlines pilot at gunpoint to fly to Havana. A baby strapped to the woman’s back was Dakeeta Grinage, said FBI spokesman Michael Flanagan.
The FBI said the hijackers were Grinage and her then-husband, Tyrone Ellington Austin, who died in 1971 from gunshot wounds suffered in a bank robbery attempt.
The suspect was arrested Monday. Police said she was living for at least the last five years in Albany under the name Haziine Eytina.
If convicted, she could be imprisoned for 20 years to life.
″She was concerned that her mother was injured,″ Grimaldi said of Dakeeta. ″She made the comment of ’why does she have to be treated as a common criminal?‴
She also said, ″wouldn’t you be upset if your mother had just been arrested?″ Grimaldi said.
The woman’s lawyer, Edward Wilford, said police relied on a ″sketchy, vague description″ to arrest her and had no photographic evidence until after taking her into custody. Wilford said FBI agents were ″basically not asking, but telling″ Grinage’s daughter that the woman in the picture was her mother.
″They have not sufficiently established to the court that Mrs. Eytina is Linda Joyce Grinage,″ Wilford said.
Grinage, who has five children with Mylo Eytina, worked as a teacher’s aide for a preschool program, according to the federal Head Start program.
″For 19 years she’s led a law-abiding life,″ Wilford said. ″She’s been a stalwart person.″