Showing posts with label kidnapping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kidnapping. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grandmother Foils Grandson's Kidnapping/Carjacking Plans

(WHITE MARSH, MD) – A grandmother’s use of her in-car navigation assistant helped her foil her grandson’s attempted trip to New York with her car and with her and three other grandchildren along for the ride against their will this weekend along Interstate 95 in Baltimore County.

The accused is identified as Darius T. Johnson, 22, of Baltimore, Md. After consultation with the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, Johnson was charged with kidnapping, kidnapping of a child under 16, false imprisonment, carjacking, second degree assault, unauthorized use of motor vehicle, and theft over $10,000. He was taken before a Baltimore County District Court commissioner and held at the county detention center on $ 500,000 secured bond.

At about 5:30 p.m. on August 25, 2012, Maryland State Police from the JFK Highway Barrack responded to northbound I-95 near Abingdon for the report of a crash. When they arrived they found no crash, but found the victim, Ardella Eaddy, 68, of Baltimore, and three of her grandchildren, ages 4, 8, and 12, in her Buick Lacrosse on the side of I-95. Eaddy reported that another grandson, later identified as Johnson, had abducted her and her three other grandchildren, but had recently fled the scene.

Eaddy told troopers she had agreed to take Johnson to a location in the Nottingham area of Baltimore to pick up some belongings from a home there. She said when they came back out to her car, Johnson told her he was taking the car and going to New York. Eaddy was able to get into the passenger’s seat and attempted to remove the keys from the ignition. She said Johnson assaulted her and said he was taking the car to New York. Eaddy refused to leave because her other three grandchildren, cousins of the suspect, were in the back seat.

Troopers were told by Eaddy that when Johnson headed north on I-95 from I-695 in White Marsh, she used the vehicle’s On-Star and called for help. According to Eaddy, On-Star was able to shut-off the vehicle’s engine and the car coasted to a stop along northbound I-95 near Abingdon. She said the suspect fled from the car on foot into a wooded area.

State troopers from the JFK Highway Barrack issued a lookout and were joined in their search for the suspect by troopers from the Bel Air Barrack and Aviation Command, as well as Baltimore County Police K-9, and Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputies. A short time later, two troopers spotted Johnson walking along Rt. 24 near Rt. 7. He was arrested without incident.

The victim and her grandchildren did not require medical treatment. She was able to return home with her car and three other grandchildren.

Maryland State Police Press Release

Monday, January 31, 2011

Man Accused Of Kidnapping Brittany Smith Says She Rode Along Voluntarily

Accused abductor Jeffrey Easley said in a letter from jail that 12-year-old Brittany Smith was his willing cross-country travelling companion.

"I did not kidnapp her or take her aginest her will," Easley, 32, wrote in a letter postmarked Thursday from the Western Virginia Regional Jail. "She made me promise not to leave her."

The one-page letter, hand-printed on lined notebook paper, contains misspellings and lacks punctuation. It doesn't mention the slaying of Tina Smith, 41, who was Easley's girlfriend and Brittany's mother.

"I want the truth out there not all these storys," Easley writes.

It continues: "I made a promise to britt in front of her mom back in july

"i promised never to leave her behind and always to protect her. that what I did."

Tina Smith was found slain at her western Roanoke County home Dec. 6, the same day police discovered that Easley, Brittany and Smith's Dodge Neon were missing. Police found the pair a week later, camping in downtown San Francisco.

Easley was charged with abducting Brittany. Police have called him a suspect in Smith's killing, but no one has been charged.

His letter responds to a Roanoke Times request to interview him.

"Its about time," the letter begins.

Easley told jail authorities on Friday that he would agree to a jailhouse interview, but quickly changed his mind and said he wanted his attorney, Thomas Roe, present. Roe, angry that a reporter had contacted Easley, declined to elaborate on Easley's letter.

"It's way too early in the case," Roe said. "It could hurt his defense."

Brittany has retained Altavista attorney Glenn Berger, who in 1997 won a dismissal of murder charges against an 8-year-old Franklin County boy accused of beating his stepfather to death. Berger would not answer questions about whether Brittany will testify against Easley, or whether she is cooperating with police.

Brittany's father, Benny Smith, a police officer in South Boston, said he did not want to talk about the investigation.

He said Brittany shares time with him and other relatives, sees a counselor twice a week and is being home-schooled.

"Brittany is doing a lot better than anybody thought she would be at this time," Smith said Friday. "She's tough, and she'll make it through all this."

Tina Smith's stepmother said she doesn't understand why no one has been charged in the slaying.

"I'm sitting here going, 'Why isn't this guy being charged with my daughter's death?' " said Liz Dyer, who lives in South Boston, Tina Smith's hometown.

"I know it's not forgotten, but I just would prefer that I could see some evidence that he's going to be charged."

Roanoke County police Lt. Chuck Mason said in a statement on Friday that his detectives and the Roanoke County commonwealth's attorney's office have been actively investigating "the crimes committed against Tina and Brittany Smith." Mason wouldn't answer questions about the case.

"It takes time to complete forensic examinations and to analyze the enormous volume of evidence compiled in this case so far," Mason said in the statement. "Let me assure you when the investigation is complete, and we have a case that is ready for court, we will place charges for the crimes that were committed."

Easley, a landscaper whose mother lives in Franklin County, met Tina Smith online over the summer and moved into the Smiths' home in October. The three became close, according to their postings on social media websites.

Brittany's MySpace page mentions that she and Easley worked out and watched movies together. He called her "Short Stack." She called him "Handcuff Buddy."

Even if Brittany willingly accompanied Easley, the law doesn't care. She's 12, not old enough to give legal consent, police and prosecutors have said.

Easley was being held in solitary confinement at the regional jail. A preliminary hearing on the abduction charge is scheduled for Feb. 8.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ohio Ex-Convict Charged With Murder

An ex-convict who was already charged with kidnapping a 13-year-old girl has been indicted on charges of aggravated murder in the deaths of her mother, her little brother and a family friend, whose dismembered remains were found in a hollow tree.

The victims' bodies were found in central Ohio nearly two months ago after suspect
Matthew Hoffman allegedly told police where to look.

The indictment returned today by a Knox County grand jury charges Hoffman with aggravated murder, burglary, kidnapping, rape, tampering with evidence and abusing a corpse.

A combination of three photos acquired by WBNS-10TV shows murder victims Tina Herrmann, Kody Maynard, and Stephanie Sprang.
Matthew Hoffman is charged with the murders of Tina Hermann, left, her son Kody Maynard, center, and family friend Stephanie Sprang.

If convicted, the 30-year-old unemployed tree trimmer could face life in prison without parole. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, because of the wishes of the victims' families, The Associated Press reported.

The bodies of Stephanie Sprang, 41, Tina Herrmann, 32, and Herrmann's 11-year-old son, Kody Maynard, were located in a wooded area in mid-November. The remains were stuffed inside garbage bags that had been placed in a hollow tree. The victims had been missing for a week before the bodies were discovered, police said.

The indictment alleges Hoffman murdered the victims during a Nov. 10 burglary at Herrmann's home in Howard, about 60 miles northeast of Columbus.
Hoffman was previously charged with kidnapping after Herrmann's 13-year-old daughter was found in the basement of his Mount Vernon home on Nov. 14. The girl was wounded, tied up and gagged, police said. The indictment alleges she was also raped.

During a Nov. 18 news conference, Knox County Sheriff David Barber said investigators found the victims' bodies based on information received from Hoffman.

Authorities have yet to offer a motive in the case. Barber previously said Hoffman had been watching the family but did not elaborate.

Hoffman, an ex-con who served prison time in Colorado for arson and other charges, is being held in the Knox County jail on $1 million bond, the AP reported.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Search For Ohio Family Ends In Tragedy

November 18, 2010

Mt Vernon, OH - The search for an Ohio family and a family friend came to a close today as they were found dead, hidden inside a hollow tree. The discovery was made approximately 2:30 pm today in the vicinity of the Kokosing River Lake, near Waterford Road in Fredericktown, Ohio, about 20 miles from where they were killed.

Matthew Hoffman instructed Sheriff's investigators where to find the bodies, which were stuffed in trash bags. It is not known how Hoffman got the bodies into the tree.

"The tree was hollow to a point," the sheriff said, adding it would be speculation to understand how the remains were put into the tree.

Hoffman is an unemployed tree trimmer, who has been observed by neighbors sitting in trees spying on people and also collected bags full of leaves while walking around near a local lake. Hoffman has been described as strange and scary.

Hoffman has been charged with kidnapping after a SWAT team found 13 year old Sarah Maynard, bound and gagged, in his basement.

Knox County Sheriff David Barber advised that Sarah's mother Tina Herrmann, brother Kody Maynard and family friend Stephanie Sprang were murdered on Wednesday, November 10, inside Herrmann's home. Sarah was also kidnapped at this time.

Exactly how the three were killed has not been released, but Barber advised that Hoffman is the only suspect.

Knox County Prosecutor John C. Thatcher advised that an indictment against Hoffman was being prepared and that the case would go to a grand jury. Neither he nor Barber would comment on whether, or not, Hoffman confessed.

Hoffman is scheduled to appear for a preliminary court hearing on Tuesday. An indictment against him could come within 4 to 6 weeks, Thatcher said.

Hoffman is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Man Accused Of Kidnapping Elizabeth Smart Is Kicked Out Of Court

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The man accused of the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart was kicked out of a federal courtroom Monday for singing hymns as jury selection for his trial got under way. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball tolerated about a half-hour of Brian David Mitchell's soft hymns before ordering Mitchell to be taken to another room in Salt Lake City's federal courthouse to watch Monday's proceedings by remote video.

Kimball also rejected Mitchell's request to don the robes he was wearing when he was arrested with Smart in March 2003, nine months after the girl vanished from her bedroom.

Mitchell faces federal charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines. He could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

Federal prosecutors moved to take over the case in 2008 after a parallel state court case stalled over questions about Mitchell's mental health.

Kimball decided earlier this year that the Mitchell is competent to face trial. The 57-year-old had been diagnosed with a delusional disorder and twice deemed incompetent for trial in state court.

Defense attorneys maintain Mitchell is unable to participate in his own defense. In court papers, attorneys have said they'll mount an insanity defense, claiming Mitchell was so impaired in 2002 that he can't be held legally responsible.

Some 600 potential jurors were called for the trial. After exclusions based on hardships or responses to a 42-page juror questionnaire, about 220 remained to be questioned in person by attorneys for both sides.

Jury selection could take several weeks, and the trial is expected to last into December.

Defense attorneys had sought to move the trial out of Utah, claiming that publicity of the case since Smart's abduction in 2002 had tainted the jury pool and make it difficult for Mitchell to get a fair trial. Both Kimball and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected that request.

Smart was 14 when she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her home on June 5, 2002. She was recovered nine months later after a motorist spotted her walking the streets of a Salt Lake City suburb with Mitchell and his now-estranged wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee.

Now 22, Smart is expected to return to Utah from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France to testify against Mitchell. Smart testified for the first time last year as part of a competency hearing for Mitchell, saying that within hours of her kidnapping she was forced to become Mitchell's polygamous wife and endured repeated rapes and other abuses throughout her captivity.

Barzee, 64, pleaded guilty last year to federal charges related to Smart's kidnapping and is serving a 15-year term in federal prison. The plea came after Barzee was ordered by a state judge to undergo forced mental health treatment at the Utah State Hospital to restore her competency to stand trial.

As part of a plea agreement, Barzee said she would cooperate with prosecutors in cases pending in state and federal court. But Barzee's name doesn't appear on the list of 22 witnesses the government plans to call in Mitchell's trial. Instead, court papers show Barzee listed among the 24 people defense attorneys plan to call to testify on Mitchell's behalf.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Used-Car Salesman Guilty of Kidnapping

ACCOMAC -- Richard Coleman set out to buy a car on June 9, 2009, and instead was kidnapped by the seller.

Three suspects hauled Coleman to a bank and forced him to make a withdrawal from an ATM in Accomack County. But Coleman instead ran inside, freeing himself, and bank workers called police.

Richard Copes, 31, of Withams pleaded guilty in Accomack Circuit Court to the abduction of Coleman, stealing an automobile and robbery.

Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Agar said the victim spoke to Copes about buying the vehicle and the victim arrived in the family van.

Copes got into the passenger seat and two other individuals came from behind bushes and confronted Coleman, according to testimony.

They assumed the man had the $600 with him to pay for the used car.

"He did not," Agar said.

But they found $50 and an ATM card in the man's wallet. All three got in the victim's van to drive to an ATM to withdraw money.

From Withams, they drove to the NASA Federal Credit Union at T's Corner. Agar said the plan was for the man to get out of the van and withdraw money while they sat in the van. The victim told investigators he thought the men had a gun.

The victim got out of the van as directed, but instead of going to the machine, he ran inside the credit union.

The three men then reportedly sped off in the van. Two of the men made statements to police and named Copes. The victim knew the three defendants and was able to identify them to police.

Copes, however, contacted Coleman in an apparent attempt to buy his support.

"Give me a break. Is there a price I can kick at you?" Copes said, according to a transcript of the phone call, which Agar read in court. The call was recorded by the victim.

The accomplices have been convicted of the same crime -- one has been sentenced to five years and the other faces sentencing.