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Abduction suspect Delvin Barnes allegedly dug grave, asked Richmond teen how she wanted to die

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CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. -- The man arrested for abducting a nurse off the streets of Philadelphia this week had been wanted for abducting a teenage girl in Richmond.

Delvin Barnes, 37, hit the 16-year-old girl in the head with a shovel, put her in his trunk and drove her to his Charles City County home, Charles City County investigators said. Barnes made the teenager take off her clothes, which he then burned. He also showed her pictures of other girls he said he had abducted.

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing in Richmond on October 1.

It was two days later, on October 3, that Barnes began to dig a hole on his Charles City County property. He asked the girl how she wanted to die.

It was then, the girl said, during a moment when Barnes' attention was diverted that she fled, running  through the woods to safety and stumbled into a building supplies company two miles away, naked, bleeding and burned.

Charles City County home

Investigators told CBS 6 News they believe Barnes hit the teen in the head with a shovel then abducted her from some location in Richmond. They believe Barnes brought the teen to this home in Charles City County to commit his crimes

"When I walked in, I could immediately smell bleach. She was hesitant – startled. It was varied emotions you saw on her face,” said Deputy Floyd Miles with the Charles City County Sheriff's Office. “I didn’t want to push her when I was talking to her about what had happened. She had a gash on her head.”

The teen was battered and bruised, but alive and able to identify Barnes in a lineup. She was also able to give investigators more than enough to build their case.

“We did execute a search warrant [and] took away evidence that corroborates the girl's story,” Capt. Jayson Crawley said.

More than a month later, the 16-year-old girl is still in a hospital, in good condition, undergoing rehab, according to the sheriff’s captain.

Delvin Barnes in Central Virginia

Delvin Barnes worked as a stock clerk at Community Supermarket at 1915 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Henrico for the last four months, store owner Joseph Lee told CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones. Police showed up at the grocery store last week on a day when Barnes was scheduled to work, another worker said. Barnes never showed up.

While officers told Lee to call if he saw Barnes again, Lee said police did not tell him why. Lee called Barnes a good worker, a hard worker. He said he had no problems with Lee as an employee and was surprised to hear about his arrest.

suspect2

Trail of videos, receipts, tips lead police to Philadelphia woman, alleged abductor

An ATM transaction, a grocery store receipt, a GPS device planted by a concerned car dealer and videos -- including one that showed a 22-year-old woman manhandled, knocked to the ground, then forced into a car just blocks from her Philadelphia home.

All of it, among other tips and pieces of evidence, added up. And because of that, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither is thankfully back in Philadelphia where she belongs.

The 22-year-old nursing assistant was released early Thursday from Maryland's Howard County General Hospital, having been reunited with her family after a harrowing three days.

Barnes -- the man who authorities say abducted her -- has a new home himself, at a detention center in Baltimore County, Maryland. He is set to have a bail hearing, via video conference from jail, at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Where Barnes will go from there is uncertain, given that he is also accused of abductions in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

But at least his alleged latest victim, Freeland-Gaither, is now free.

Philadelphia police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says that's because of "a lot of police work, a lot of tips from the public. But we were able to track it down."

And the victim's mother, Keisha Gaither, couldn't be happier or more thankful.

As she said Wednesday night to law enforcement, the media and the public, "Thank you for keeping me up. Thank you for being there for us. I'm taking my baby home!"

Taken after visiting godson

On Sunday, Freeland-Gaither went to the house of her mother's godson, her aunt Dayah Freeland said, and took a bus toward home.

After she was dropped off in Philadelphia's Germantown-Penn Knox area around 9:40 p.m., the suspect's car passed her, turned up the street, then met her at an intersection, Philadelphia police Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson told CNN sister network HLN.

It was then that her abductor pounced.

Surveillance video shows Freeland-Gaither being confronted by a man, then forcibly led away by him, tussling on the ground before being forced into a car.

During the struggle, her glasses and cell phone fell to the road. Freeland-Gaither kept fighting -- even breaking out one of the passenger side windows -- but she couldn't stop the car from speeding away.

Abductions are hardly unprecedented, but Ramsey said it is rare to see one captured on video.

"I've been on the job 46 years, (this is the) first time I've ever seen a kidnapping on videotape. (It) really was horrific to watch it unfold."

Police: Car dealer provided key tip

This wasn't the only video that police released.

Another, from just after 6 a.m. Monday, shows a man in a dark hooded jacket using Freeland-Gaither's ATM card at a machine in Aberdeen, Maryland, which is about 75 miles from Philadelphia.

And on Wednesday, police released an additional video of a man, also wearing dark clothing, making a purchase at a convenience store on Monday.

Someone who sold a car to Barnes recognized him from one of the videos and alerted authorities. The dealer had placed a GPS device in the vehicle because of worries about Barnes' bad credit, according to Charles City County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jason Crawley.

"From that, we were able to trace the car," Ramsey said. "We were able to then contact Charles City (Virginia authorities), ... and things started really falling into place very quickly."

Authorities believe that both the Charles City County abduction case and that of Freeland-Gaither are stranger abductions, meaning the victims didn't know who took them.

The travels of Barnes, the man who police think is responsible for both crimes, ended Wednesday night in Jessup, Maryland.

"We surveilled that vehicle in the area," FBI agent Ed Hanko said of the car Barnes is thought to have used in Freeland-Gaither's kidnapping.

"... When the subject exited the vehicle, that's when Ms. (Freeland-Gaither) was recovered."

9 comments

  • Paula

    If they knewthat he was the one that attacked the 16 year why wasn’t he arrested then? What is wrong with the police?

  • Barbara Wilson Peck

    How could this happen a month ago. I never heard about it on the news and also if she gave so much information to the police why wasn’t this man picked up. Maybe I just missed it on the news but the police seriously dropped the ball on not picking this man up.

    • JMD

      Actually they knew who he was and attempted to pick him up. He was not there when they made the attempt. They decided not to put his face on the news cause they thought he would flee. I saw the victim on the news last month,

  • Manalishi

    There’s nothing wrong with Delvin Barnes that a quick hanging won’t cure. Tolerance and the judicial system is what makes it complicated and expensive.

      • Lacedaemon

        Manalishi you don’t pay taxes or for anything yourself. You don’t work and blow hot air 24/7. Poor, poor me says the whining Manalishi. Typical non-Democrat.

Comments are closed.