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Entries in Abduction (20)

Wednesday
Aug142013

Suspect in Teen's Abduction Connected to Previous Missing Person Case

FBI/Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail(NEW YORK) -- A man charged with the abduction of a Virginia teenager who is still missing, was one of the last people to speak with another teen before she disappeared in 2010, according to authorities.

Samantha Clarke was 19 when she went missing on the night of Sept. 13 or early Sept. 14, 2010, in Orange, Va. Authorities said one of the last people Clarke talked to before she disappeared was Randy Taylor, now 48, who was arraigned Tuesday in the abduction of Alexis Murphy, 17, who was last seen on Aug. 3.

During a brief appearance in Nelson County Juvenile and Domestic Court in Virginia, Taylor was assigned a public defender but did not enter a plea on an abduction charge in the case of Murphy, who still hasn't been found.

"As Randy Taylor is someone that Samantha spoke with immediately prior to her disappearance, he remains someone we are very interested in learning more about," Diana H. Wheeler, Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney, said in a statement.

Wheeler said authorities in Orange, where Clarke was last seen, are coordinating with their counterparts in Nelson County, Va., to "share whatever information they have to which may be helpful."

Authorities declined to elaborate on what led them to arrest Taylor on Sunday night, however they asked anyone who may have seen Taylor before or just after Murphy's disappearance to come forward.

Murphy was last seen on Aug. 3 at a Lovingston, Va., gas station. Her white Nissan Maxima was located three days later in the parking lot of Carmike Cinemas in Charlottesville, Va.

On Monday, what would have been Murphy's first day of her senior year of high school, her mother, Laura Murphy, made a sobbing plea for her return.

"I want her to come home because today would've been her first day of school," she said at a news conference. "I carried my youngest son to school this morning but I didn't have my daughter to take.

"Please, if the public knows anything, please, please let us know. Please," she said.

Taylor was never arrested or charged in Clarke's disappearance, which police said remains an active investigation.

However, in an interview last year with The Hook, a Charlottesville newspaper, Taylor said police treated him like a suspect and harassed him to the extent that he lost his job, home and custody of his son.

"The case needs to be solved," he told the newspaper, "but the way they're going about it is ridiculous."

Taylor told the newspaper that Clarke had expressed romantic interest in one of his younger acquaintances but had soon shifted her sights to another friend, who happened to have a girlfriend.

"I heard [the girlfriend] saying she wanted to 'beat her ass,'" Taylor said, adding that he heard the second man claim he'd help his girlfriend.

Taylor told the newspaper he called Clarke, who he said he didn't know very well, to warn her to "stay away" from the second man.

Clarke's last words were to her 13-year-old brother late Sept. 13 or early Sept. 14, 2010, before she left their apartment.

"I'll be back," she said, according to Wheeler. Clarke never returned.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan312013

Alleged Bus Driver Shooter Remains Holed Up with Boy in Ala. Bunker

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) -- A 5-year-old boy, who police in Dale County, Ala., say was abducted by a man who killed a school bus driver, remains holed up with the suspected kidnapper in an underground bunker as of early Thursday morning.

Law enforcement authorities are keeping a close watch on the bunker, where reports are that the child is unharmed and watching TV.

The suspect has been identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, who was due to appear in court Wednesday on charges that he pointed a gun at people during a disagreement over a speed bump.

According to police, the boy was among a group of children riding a school bus in the rural Alabama community Tuesday afternoon when Dykes, who has been described as an anti-government survivalist, forced his way onto the vehicle at a stop.

Reports are that Dykes said he wanted two boys for an undisclosed reason when bus driver Charles Albert Poland tried to intercept the suspect.  It was then that Dykes allegedly fired four shots at Poland, killing him.

Dykes then took the 5-year-old to the homemade bunker he had constructed on his property, authorities said.

Police are tight-lipped about the situation and what, if any, demands Dykes has made in order to free the boy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan152013

Missing Pennsylvania Girl Abducted from School Found

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children(PHILADELPHIA) -- A 5-year-old girl has been found after allegedly being abducted by a stranger from her classroom at a Philadelphia elementary school, where officials didn't learn of her disappearance until six hours later.

Nailla Robinson was found early Tuesday morning by a man in a nearby park in Upper Darby under bleachers and transported to the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania to be checked for hypothermia.

Police say the little girl told them a stranger took her from the school on Monday.  She said she was blindfolded and walked a couple of blocks to a house.  Robinson said a teenage girl later took her from that house to the playground, according to police.

Robinson was taken from Bryant Elementary School Monday at about 8:50 a.m. by a woman covered with an all black niqab, a piece of cloth that covers the face, according to surveillance video.  The school did not know Robinson was missing until six hours later when the girl's day care arrived to pick her up.

"I don't know if it's an accident or whatever it is, please bring my baby home.  Don't hurt her," Robinson's mother, Latifah Rashid, told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV on Monday.

Rashid told WPVI that she dropped Robinson off at 8:45 a.m., five minutes before she was taken from the school by another woman.

"[She] told her teacher that she was me, her mother, and that she was taking her out to breakfast and Nailla was already signed out at the office and she took my child and left," Rashid said.

Police say the woman knew Robinson by name and there was a substitute teacher in the classroom, according to WPVI.

"There's a signature in the book you're required anytime you go into the schools," Lt. John Walker of the Philadelphia Police Department said.  "There's a list of people who can pick a child up.  She did sign a name but it's not legible so we are not quite sure who the person is."

The school district released a statement, saying there were some major procedural violations by Bryant Elementary and "an adult is not allowed to go to any classrooms to check children out."

The surveillance video shows the woman leading Robinson through the halls of the school before exiting the premises.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter had offered a $10,000 return for information leading to the girl's safe return.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

Texas Girl Allegedly Kidnapped by Mother Found Safe

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- An 11-year-old Texas girl who was the subject of an Amber Alert after police said she was was abducted by her mother, has been found safe, and her mother is in custody.

A Child Protective Services spokesperson in Trinity County told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston that Savannah Hurley was found there Tuesday afternoon.  No other details were immediately avaiable.

"It was a child custody thing," Trinity County Chief Deputy Billy Patton told ABC News earlier Tuesday.  "They were going to remove the kid from the mother and the grandmother got involved."

Patton said that when authorities and Child Protective Services arrived at the house of the girl's mother, Shelly Jean Hurley, 46, in The Woodlands, Texas, to take Savannah, the little girl was not there.

"The mother jumped in a car and headed to the grandmother's house," Patton said.  "The grandmother gave the child to the mother and they were gone.  They left and we had no idea which direction they went in."

Patton would not say why CPS was taking Savannah away from her mother.  Savannah's maternal grandmother is in custody for allegedly interfering with child custody.

Hurley took off with Savannah in a white Ford pickup truck, but police found that car and said that Hurley had switched to a 1996 maroon Subaru Legacy station wagon with an Alabama license plate.

When police located the Legacy in Mesquite, just outside Dallas, neither Savannah nor her mother were found there.

Investigators said they believe the duo initially fled to The Woodlands area and started heading north, according to KTRK.  They said they thought Hurley might have been planning to eventually take Savannah to Florida.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Police 'Certain' Jessica Ridgeway Case Linked to Attempted Jogger Abduction

The Ridgeway Family(DENVER) -- Authorities hunting for the person who killed and dismembered 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway said Tuesday there is a "definitive link" between her case and the attempted abduction of a jogger in the same area earlier this year.

Police also warned that the killer is "still in the community."

"We are able to make a definitive link," Westminster Police Department spokesman Trevor Materasso told ABC News. "We're certain that there's a connection between the two cases and that's how we're moving forward with the investigation."

On May 28, at around 1:15 p.m., a 22-year-old woman was running on a trail around Ketner Lake when she said a man tried to grab her from behind, police said. The woman said he tried to put a rag over her mouth that had a chemical smell. She was able to get away and call 911.

The suspect was described as a white male, between 5-feet-6 and 5-feet-8 with brown hair and average build.

Jessica Ridgeway vanished five months later on Oct. 5 when she left for school. The fifth-grader never showed up at a nearby park where she was supposed to meet friends for the one-mile walk to her elementary school.

After an extensive search of the area, including knocking on doors and FBI road blocks, Jessica's dismembered body was found on Oct. 10 in an Arvada, Colo., park, miles from where she was abducted.

Though the public has been on edge during the hunt for the suspect who killed Ridgeway, investigators are asking the community to be patient, saying that they must be very careful about what they disclose since the killer is on the loose.

"We don't have the perpetrator identified," Materasso said. "He is still in the community and considering the heinous nature of Jessica's case, we have to be even more careful that we're not disclosing information that could hinder our ability to identify or apprehend the suspect."

Authorities announced last week that they were turning their attention to two earlier attempted abductions at Ketner Lake.

Investigators said that they were looking into a possible connection between the cases "due to the time frame and geographic proximity of Jessica's disappearance and the attempted abduction."

Police said they were concerned that a jogger was chased by a man in the same area in July 2010. The suspect described in 2010 was similar to the case from this year, but authorities are not saying that the 2010 case was related to Ridgeway.

"We're still concerned about the 2010 case, but at this time, we're not able to make a definite connection one way or another," Materasso said Tuesday. "We don't make a connection lightly."

He said police are also looking into a case reported in Aurora, Colo., this week where a woman said that a man in a parking lot tried to put a towel over her face while another man in a car asked for directions. She was able to fight the man off and get away.

"The Aurora police department is conducting an investigation in their city and working with our team of law enforcement, but, at this point, there's no way for us to say if there is any connection," Materasso said.

Police are asking that anyone with any information regarding Ridgeway's abduction or the attempted abductions at the lake please contact them at 303-658-4336 or by email at PDamberalert@cityofwestminster.us.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct152012

Jessica Ridgeway Case: Police Look for Suspect in Two Near-Abductions

Courtesy of the Ridgeway family(ARVADA, Colo.) -- Police in Arvada, Colo., are looking for a man suspected of trying to abduct two children a few weeks before 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway's killing to see whether there is a possible connection.

In two reported incidents on Sept. 9 and Sept. 12, Arvada police said an 8- and 9-year-old were nearly abducted, according to police.

"Both of them said they were offered candy to get into the vehicle.  In both incidences, they knew to run and tell an adult," Arvada police spokeswoman Jill McGranahan told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV.

Ridgeway's body was found on Oct. 10 in an Arvada park, seven miles from her home in Westminster, Colo.

Meanwhile, police in Cody, Wyo., announced that a man suspected in a child abduction case was arrested Sunday in Belgrade, Mont.  Authorities in the Ridgeway case do not believe there is a connection.

With no major breaks in the case, residents in and around Ridgeway's hometown are on edge.  A report that a man in a car tried to kidnap a 13-year-old boy in Jefferson County, Colo., this weekend turned out to be false.

The teen believed a man was trying to lure him into his parked car, so he ran inside his home and alerted his mother, who managed to snap a photo of the suspect in his blue sedan.

When the picture was circulated by police, the 18-year-old man in the car turned himself in and explained that he had been trying to get the boy to knock on the door of his ex-girlfriend's home to get her attention, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokesman Mark Techmeyer told KMGH.

A mug shot of the driver was taken, but he was released after police determined he was not a threat to the community.

"I think everyone reacted just the way they should have, in the light of everything that is going on," Techmeyer said.

With so few clues, authorities have asked the public for help, urging them to be on the lookout for anyone showing behavioral changes.

FBI profilers believe the suspect they are hunting is likely male and might have recently missed work or suddenly left town.  He might have changed his appearance or gotten rid of his car, profilers said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep272012

Abducted 3-Week-Old in Illinois Found Alive; Mother Arrested

Stark County Sheriff's Office(TOULON, Ill.) -- An abducted 3-week-old baby girl from Illinois, who was kidnapped in front of a post office, was found alive on a rural gravel road Thursday night, authorities said.

Mia Graci Thompson was abducted in Toulon, Ill., a small town about 150 miles southwest of Chicago, on Wednesday morning at around 8:10 a.m. She was reportedly taken from the back seat of a vehicle, according to the Stark County Sheriff's Office.

Mia's mother, Kendra Meaker, 19, was arrested in connection with the kidnapping, ABC News affiliate WQAD reported.

An Amber Alert that was issued earlier was canceled at about 8 p.m.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children had previously categorized the case as a "Non Family Abduction."

Authorities said Mia has been taken to a local hospital to be examined.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep062012

Amber Alert Canceled After Kids Report Child Abduction Near NY School

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEWBURGH, N.Y.) -- Police in Newburgh, N.Y., Thursday morning canceled an AMBER Alert issued 16 hours earlier after a group of children reported the abduction of a girl believed to be as young as 5.

Authorities in Newburgh, which is in Orange County, about 60 miles north of New York City, issued the alert at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday but cancelled the child-abduction alert bulletin at 10:21 a.m. Thursday. 

Police said they will discuss the situation later Thursday at a news conference.

The group of 5- and 6-year-old kids told police that two men got out of a pickup truck and grabbed the girl's mouth and neck and forced her into the truck shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday near South Junior High School, according to a police news release.

Police soon issued the AMBER Alert for the missing child and were working with the FBI.  Police told ABC News that as of 10 a.m. Thursday, no one had come forward to report a missing child in the area.

Newburgh police told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV earlier that they had no reason not to believe the group of kids who say they saw the abduction.  The witnesses did not say whether the girl was with anyone at the time of the abduction.

"A guy came out of the pickup truck and grabbed her mouth and her neck and she was trying to scream and couldn't," a child told WABC.  "They put her in a garbage bag.  All you could see is her head.  And they put her in the car and drove off."

Another child told WABC, "I saw the pickup truck.  It had blue license plates, and when the man got out of the car with two bags, we started running."

The girl was described as possibly Hispanic, about 5 or 6 years old and 3-feet tall with long black hair and wearing a short-sleeve, bright-pink shirt with white stripes, according to the news release.

Police said the truck was occupied by two males.  The vehicle is a black pickup truck with green writing on the sides.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug232012

Baby Abducted from Pittsburgh Hospital Found Alive

WTAE(PITTSBURGH) -- A 3-day-old infant who was abducted Thursday afternoon from the maternity ward of a Pittsburgh hospital has been found alive, a Pittsburgh Police Department spokeswoman said.

The baby was taken back to the hospital to be positively identified, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. The infant's grandmother told ABC News that the baby has been positively identified.

A suspect, matching the description of the alleged kidnapper, is in police custody and being questioned. She has not been named.

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Baby Bryce Coleman was snatched Thursday afternoon moments after nurses removed a security tag from the infant as his family prepared for discharge from the hospital.

At 12:34 p.m. a nurse removed the baby's security tag in the presence of the child's mother in preparation for discharge, according to hospital officials.

"At 1:15, the father alerted the staff that the family was ready to depart and then it was determined that the baby was missing," the hospital said in a statement.

"Hospital staff immediately searched the unit and followed other internal security procedures. Police were called at 1:44 p.m.," the hospital said.

ABC News affiliate WTAE reported that the suspect was wearing hospital scrubs.

The station reported that woman matching the description of the suspect earlier Thursday entered a uniform store near the hospital and purchased UPMC scrubs. She told the clerk she was receiving training at the hospital that day, according to reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug032012

Cal Ripken Jr. Seeks Help in Finding Mom’s Abductor

MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. says his mother feels violated and has not been able to return to her home since being abducted at gunpoint there earlier this month.

“She’s not back in her home yet, so I guess that gives you some indication of how she’s feeling,” Ripken said Friday on ABC's Good Morning America.  ”Her sense of security is violated.”

“She’s a tough woman, but it’s a very traumatic ordeal,” he said.

Vi Ripken, 74, was abducted at gunpoint from her home northeast of Baltimore the morning of July 24.  Police say the suspect, who remains at large, approached her and used a handgun to force her into her 1998 Lincoln Town Car.

Around 8:30 p.m. that day, the Aberdeen, Md., police received a phone call from the Baltimore County Police about a suspicious vehicle parked on private property.  By the time officers arrived, the vehicle was gone but using the license plate number provided in the call, the car was tracked to Mrs. Ripken, Lt. Fred Budnick told ABC News.

“We didn’t even know that mom was missing until a 911 call came in that identified her car,” Cal Ripken said Friday.  “She was doing her normal day’s activities.  She got up very early and was met in her garage at gunpoint and tied up and put in her car.  She was driven around for about 23 hours.”

At around 6:15 a.m., the next morning, Vi Ripken was “located unharmed in her vehicle in close proximity to her residence,” police said.

“Who knows what actually happened in the car for that period of time,” Cal Ripken said.  “Mom tries to articulate it, but really it was just her trying to stay calm and her trying to hope and believe that she was going to be returned.”

Ripken, a baseball icon who played shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles for 21 years, said his family and police have not been able to determine if there was a motive behind the abduction, possibly linked to his famous name.

“All indications are there was no real reference to mom or the name,” he said.  “It could be anything and that’s the bizarre nature of this case is that it could be a random act or it could be one that was much deeper than that.”

Police on Tuesday released a surveillance video that shows the suspect at a nearby store during the time Vi Ripken was missing.

The surveillance video, from a store in Anne Arundel, Md., shows a man wearing dark pants, a white shirt, and a red and black baseball cap.  The man fits the police department’s description of the suspect being white, tall, thin and in his 30s or 40s.

Investigators have released a composite sketch of the suspect.  The investigation is ongoing, and police are offering a $2,000 reward for any tips that lead to a conviction.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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