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Archive for Friday, October 20, 2006

Couple suspected of kidnapping baby from social worker arrested

October 20, 2006

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— Authorities arrested a Kentucky couple suspected of kidnapping the woman's 9-month-old son from a social worker, later found dead, who had taken the child to visit the mother, an FBI official said Thursday.

The infant was found unharmed, said FBI spokesman Marshall Stone.

FBI agents arrested Renee Terrell, 33, and her boyfriend, Christopher Wayne Luttrell, 23, about 8:30 p.m. in a rural area near Godfrey, about 35 miles north of St. Louis, Stone said. The boy, Saige, was found in the same place, he said.

Sgt. John Nevels of the Henderson, Ky., Police Department was at the scene and said the couple were caught hiding in a camper where they had sought shelter after the car they were using apparently broke down nearby.

"They were getting pretty desperate and had run out of money and food," Nevels said. "They started reaching out to people to try and help them."

Nevels said he didn't know why Terrell and Luttrell had come to Illinois, but authorities had been searching the area for them after contacting the couple's friends and family.

The baby was examined by a doctor and found in good condition, FBI agent John Stafford said at a news conference at the Alton Police Department, where the couple were being held Thursday night. The child was in the custody of authorities.

Earlier in the day, the FBI had issued warrants for Terrell and Luttrell for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution on state kidnapping charges, according to Tracy Reinhold, an FBI agent in Kentucky.

The baby had been removed from Terrell's custody when he was 13 days old because of neglect, according to police. On Monday, social worker Boni Frederick, 67, took the boy to his mother's home in Henderson for a visit.

Frederick was found beaten to death at the house later that day, and the baby, his mother and Frederick's station wagon were gone, authorities said.

Henderson police Detective Ron Adams said Frederick's purse was found near Mount Vernon, Ill., about 100 miles southeast of Godfrey.

A neighbor, Jean Davis, told The Courier-Journal that Terrell learned last week that the missing boy, Saige, was to be put up for adoption. Terrell told friends Saturday she planned to take the boy and run away to New Mexico, Davis said.

"She loved her baby," Davis told the newspaper in a story published Wednesday. "She talked about how she was going to get her baby and everything back."

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