Three days after Paula Broadwell of Charlotte emerged at the center of national controversy, FBI agents spent four hours Monday night searching her familys Dilworth home.
About eight to 10 agents brought cardboard boxes used for carrying papers and were on both floors of the home for the search, which began shortly before 9 p.m. About two dozen members of the local and national media gathered. It wasnt immediately clear what the agents were focused on. The search ended at 1:09 a.m. Tuesday.
The agents appeared to start their search in the kitchen at the rear of the house, turning on lights as they moved into different rooms. Two hours into the search, lights appeared to be turned on in most rooms. After midnight, an agent walked out of the kitchen and retrieved boxes from a Chevy Malibu parked outside. She didnt comment.
Authorities said the FBI was not conducting a raid at the home, but that Broadwell consented to a search of the property.
Just after 1 a.m., about eight FBI agents came out of the house with a half-dozen file boxes, a Dell PC, an iMac, a briefcase and a printer. The agents left at 1:09 a.m. The agents declined to comment on what they found.
Broadwells apparent affair with retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, who is also married, led him to resign Friday as CIA director. Broadwells Charlotte neighbor Sarah Curme said Monday that Broadwell, her husband and two young sons were doing pretty well considering the circumstances. Broadwell marked her 40th birthday over the weekend with family in Washington, D.C.
Theyre trying to bring some order to something thats very messy right now, said Curme, who picked up the familys newspapers.
Despite Broadwells high-profile life as an author and public speaker, her days in Charlotte resembled those of many busy working mothers, another Charlotte friend said.
That friend says the Broadwell she knows is nothing like the person being portrayed as a jealous mistress who sent harassing emails.
I dont know if I dont believe it, or I dont want to believe it, said the friend, who declined to be named. Though she had lunch with Broadwell just over a week ago, she had no sense that anything was amiss.
The woman, one of a group of Broadwells mom friends, describes Broadwell as a devoted mother who has a natural rapport with children. Often, she said, their group of friends socializes at their childrens activities, such as birthday parties and sports. And they keep each others kids when child-care needs arise.
When it was time to sign their kids up for summer camps this year, they gathered at Broadwells house to organize car pools. Like most moms of young kids, Broadwells friend says, their conversations typically revolve around children.
In a January interview with the Observer, Broadwell talked about how much she relied on her husband, friends and family to help with child care while she wrote her book, All In: The Education of General Petraeus.
Curme said the family plans to return to Charlotte in the next couple of days, although she wasnt sure exactly when.
Broadwells two sons will need to return to school and her husband, Dr. Scott Broadwell, needs to return to work as a radiologist, Curme said.
They just want things to die down, she said. Curme hopes they can once again enjoy being home and having a normal routine.
Before the scandal broke, Broadwell often ran in her Dilworth neighborhood and socialized with neighbors.
They seemed like any other family in the neighborhood whos busy with the kids, Curme said.
Monday morning, a couple of television news trucks were stationed outside the Broadwell home. A few joggers and walkers passed. At one point, a FedEx worker knocked on the door with a package. He ended up leaving a note.
Curme said the Broadwells will survive the scandal.
Knowing both of them, I suspect they will join forces and work through this, Curme said. It might take a while but theyll come out on the other side.
Staff writer Pam Kelley, staff photographer Davie Hinshaw, staff researcher Maria David, WCNC-TV and the Associated Press contributed.
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