Ardmore Girl Reunited with Family after Kidnapping10-Nov-2014
Every parents' nightmare played out in Ardmore, Oklahoma, this weekend when a 7-year-old girl was abducted by a stranger. Police in Ardmore issued a statewide Amber Alert when the girl was forced into a vehicle about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. The following morning, police received an anonymous tip saying that the girl was at a home in Marietta, approximately 20 miles south of Ardmore.
Police found the girl at that home of the suspect, identified as 34-year-old Fount Duston. The girl was taken to receive medical care and reunited with her mother, while the suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping and first degree rape. Prosecutors say additional charges will likely be filed against Duston.
As of this writing, police say they do not believe there was any relationship between the suspect and the girl, and they do not believe she knew her abductor.
Stranger abductions are rare. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children under the age of 18 are reported missing each year. Of that number, most are considered to be runaways, but more than a quarter of them are abducted:
- 200,000 are abducted by family members
- 58,000 are abducted by non-family members
- 115 are abducted by strangers or passing acquaintances
As a percentage of the total number of children abducted, the number or children kidnapped and held by a stranger is relatively small. Still, the thought that more than a hundred children are snatched away from their families and held against their will, sexually assaulted, or even killed is horrifying.
The NCMEC gives another terrifying statistic about the need for quick action after a child abduction. The first three hours are critical in searching for a missing child. Of the 100 children killed each year following a child abduction, more than 76% are dead within three hours.
In the Ardmore case, the little girl was missing for nearly 19 hours before she was found. Fortunately, she's one of the 24 percent who are found alive, even after the 3-hour window has passed.
Earlier this year, in neighboring Missouri, 10-year-old Hailey Owens was not so lucky. The little girl was abducted in broad daylight in the presence of several witnesses shortly before 5:00 p.m. on February 18. While witnesses tried to stop the abduction, the man pulled the little girl into his truck and sped away. Within hours, around 8:00 that night and only a few miles away, police arrested Craig Michael Wood. Hailey had already been killed by the time Wood was arrested. Wood has been charged with murder, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, and armed criminal action. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
In the Ardmore case, Duston faces up to 20 years in prison for kidnapping and life in prison without parole for first degree rape.
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