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FBI: Kidnapper Assaulted Woman Before Taking Girl

Police aren't saying whether it was a random attack; the girl is safe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 16, 2018 10:57 AM CST

(Newser) – New details are emerging in the case of a kidnapped 4-year-old girl who was found safe on Wednesday, one day after being taken. Police say the girl's mother was attacked in her home on Tuesday and apparently tied up before police found her while making a welfare check, according to an affidavit filed in the case. Heidi Todd's mother had dropped off two other children at school Tuesday morning, returned to her home on Johns Island, South Carolina, and was attacked by a man who had a knife, FBI Special Agent Matt Rhue said in papers filed in US District Court in Charleston. "The attacker then physically assaulted (the woman) causing facial fractures and brain bleeding, among other significant injuries," Rhue wrote in the affidavit, per the AP. She remains hospitalized. Police haven't said whether the attack was random or if the suspect knew the family.

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Rhue said officers went to the home at 5:30pm after school officials told police no one had picked up the two children who had been dropped off that morning. The mother met officers at the door, and they said she had significant facial trauma and markings suggesting she had been tied up. The mother told officers that she had told Heidi to run and hide when the man attacked her, according to Rhue. Rick Oliver, the police chief in Riverside, Alabama, said a railroad crew called him after finding a vehicle parked well into the woods Wednesday afternoon near a railroad track in the city on Interstate 20 east of Birmingham, Alabama. Oliver said 37-year-old Thomas Lawton Evans Jr. and the girl were asleep in the car. Evans handed over the girl, then sped off before being caught and arrested, said police. He is charged with kidnapping, with more charges expected.

(Read more kidnapping stories.)

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