WALTON COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of a metro Atlanta teen arrested and sentenced to prison for violating the Cayman Islands quarantine rules said her daughter is scared to death in prison.
Channel 2′s Gwinnett County bureau chief Tony Thomas spoke with the family just after Skylar Mack found out about her prison sentence.
Skylar Mack and her family admit she broke the law, there is no dispute there. They just don’t like what they view as a harsh sentence: two months in prison.
Skylar’s mother told Thomas the 18-year-old from Loganville isn’t handling it well.
“The stress, scared, she’s scared to death over there,” said Skyler’s mother Rebecca Burt. “She’s by herself there’s no family there whatsoever to speak of.”
As police escorted Skyler out of a Cayman’s court, her parents sat in Walton County floored by the news she would spend several more weeks in prison.
“It’s just been a constant nightmare that we keep living over and over and we never get out of it,” Burt said.
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Mack went to the island last month to celebrate Christmas with her boyfriend’s family. But she broke the country’s COVID-19 isolation laws, taking off a government tracking bracelet and leaving her hotel to attend this jet ski race her boyfriend was competing in.
One court sentenced the couple to community service, on appeal, another to four months in prison. And the Cayman’s highest court reduced the sentences Tuesday to two months.
“The day she arrived is the day the new law went into effect. They are trying to use her as an example and the poster child to say, ‘Do not do this,’” said Skyler’s father Jason Burt.
Out of legal options, the family now puts its hope in the U.S. government, wanting her back in country before her Mercer classes start.
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“She is hysterical, she is scared, she just wants to come home where she can be safe with family,” Rebecca Burt said.
Mack’s Cayman attorney said with the two-month sentence, in reality she will serve 60 percent of that. She’s been locked up for a week so she will likely get out right around Jan. 20, unless the U.S. pulls some strings.