Less than 30 minutes after a nationwide BOLO (Be On The Lookout) had been issued, a Mississippi teenager suspected of kidnapping a young mother and her 2-year-old child was taken into custody Saturday evening by Minden and Webster Parish lawmen.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said 17-year-old Dakota M. Thornton of Magee, Miss., was arrested without incident about 11 p.m. Saturday after he pulled off Interstate 20 eastbound at the La. Hwy. 532 exit. Sexton said 17-year-old Erica Leeanne Walters and her son, Zane, were found unharmed in the vehicle.
Thornton was booked into Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center as a fugitive from Simpson County, Miss. Sexton said Thornton is charged with kidnapping and credit card fraud in Mississippi. The Simpson County Sheriff’s Office reportedly had been told Walters and her son had been abducted at gunpoint in Magee.
Minden Chief of Police Steve Cropper said MPD Sgt. Joel Kendrick spotted Thornton’s vehicle shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday as it exited Interstate 20 east at the Minden-Sibley exit.
“Sgt. Kendrick got the BOLO at 10:30 which indicated a cell phone in the car had pinged on a tower at the three-mile marker heading east on Interstate 20. He set up surveillance beneath the overpass at exit 47 and observed the suspect vehicle exit the interstate,” Cropper said. “The car did not complete the exit and returned to the eastbound lane on I-20.”
Cropper said Sgt. Kendrick called for backup and followed the vehicle until a traffic stop was initiated at the La. Hwy. 532 exit.
“Sgt. Kendrick was joined by Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies who placed Thornton under arrest,” Cropper said. “When the vehicle was searched, a .45 caliber handgun was found on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat.”