Officials: Two kidnappers abducted toddler before abandoning the child at a Mississippi Goodwill store
SOUTHHAVEN, Mississippi - A two-year-old boy was abandoned at a Goodwill store in Southhaven Mississippi on Monday and now that officials have traced the incident back to a kidnapping, they say they've arrested the two individuals responsible.
According to CNN, Jeremy Fitzgerald, 34, and Turliscea Turner, 29, of Memphis, Tennessee, have been charged with kidnapping the child, the US Attorney's Office in Western Tennessee announced.
The child was dropped off Monday at a Southaven, Mississippi, Goodwill store with nothing but a bag of clothes and a note. Police say a bystander called them to report that a man wearing black jogging pants and a cowboy hat left the child there.
According to the criminal complaint, Fitzgerald offered to have Turner, who was posing as his sister, babysit the boy while Fitzgerald and the child's mother went to Nashville on Sunday.
But Fitzgerald then demanded that the boy's mother work for him as a prostitute. When she refused, he left her in Nashville and did not answer her repeated calls. Fitzgerald then spoke to the child's aunt, demanding money for the child's return, CNN reports.
On Monday morning, Fitzgerald, Turner and an unknown person, drove the child to Southaven, Mississippi and then stopped at a gas station. It was at this point that while Turner went inside, Fitzgerald took the child to a nearby Goodwill store and left him there. The complaint alleges that Turner knew the child had been left at the Goodwill.
After that, police closed in on Fitzgerald in Memphis and he crashed his car while trying to evade capture. But police caught up with him and brought him to a hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.
Deputies apprehended Turner in a nearby grocery store wearing the same clothing she was seen wearing in a surveillance video released on Monday afternoon.
The pair was taken into custody and now face a possible sentence of 20 years to life in federal prison with five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, CNN reports.
According to authorities, Turner has a hearing scheduled for Friday, but no hearings have been listed for Fitzgerald so far, court records show and the case will be presented to a federal grand jury at a later date. Before that, additional federal charges may be added.
On a positive note, authorities say the kidnapped child was found in good spirits.
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