Non-custodial father, girlfriend arrested in Tennessee after kidnapping 3-year-old boy from Walker County

Sheriff Steve Wilson, Walker County (GA) Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh, Rutherford County (TN) Sheriff’s Office:

A non-custodial father accused of kidnapping his 3-year-old son from his Georgia home was apprehended within 2-1/2 hours Tuesday by Rutherford County Sheriff’s deputies in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Parent John Kavin Samples, 26, of Utah was wanted for taking his son from the boy’s mother’s home in Rossville, Ga., said Walker County Detective Jonathan Camp.

Samples earlier visited his son in Rossville. As he prepared to leave Monday night, he “forcibly kidnapped the child from his mother in the presence of his older sister while in the possession of a firearm,” Camp said. The custodial mother chased them, Camp said. Samples put the child in the van and got into the driver’s seat. The mother opened the door to save him and Samples’ girlfriend, Anjela Baker, allegedly handed him a gun. “He pointed it at the mother and tried to shoot her but missed,” Camp said. “He tried to hit her with the car” and drove away.

Walker County Sheriff’s Patrol Sgt. Thomas Agredano, Cpl. Jacob Russ and Deputy Jarred Almeida responded within five minutes and obtained pertinent information about Samples and the vehicle he drove. They notified the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies along Interstate 24 with a description of Samples and the vehicle. Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said deputies used technology showing the vehicle was located in Murfreesboro. THP relayed the information to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ethan Shenefield said Deputy Luis Ramirez saw the vehicle at a Shell station on Old Fort Parkway. He followed the vehicle onto Interstate 24 until he and other deputies stopped Samples near the Interstate 840 exit. Deputies involved in the stop included Lt. Trey Nunley, Shenefield, Sgt. April Haggard, Cpl. Markis Woods, Deputies Riley Dunmyer, Tyler Marks, Tyler Cravens, and James Driver and Detective Andrew Quintal. Ramirez charged Samples and Baker, 30, of Ogden, Utah, with being fugitives from justice. They were booked into Rutherford County Adult Detention Center where they are being held for Walker County Sheriff’s Office.

A hearing on the fugitive charges and extradition is set April 8 in General Sessions Court. Rutherford County Detective Christina Overton said Samples’ 3-year-old son was returned to a family member. The Department of Children’s Services took custody of Baker’s 5-year-old daughter and her 6-month-old baby who is Samples’ child. Overton recovered a firearm in the vehicle driven by Samples. Camp obtained warrants charging Samples with aggravated assault of the family violence act, kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, cruelty to a child first-degree of his son and his son’s sister and home invasion first degree. Baker is being charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Camp thanked everyone who treated the case as a serious situation and no one suffered injuries. “It is my strongest belief it saved this child’s life,” Camp said. “I was concerned for the potential this situation had to result in a violent confrontation with law enforcement.” Sheriff Wilson said he was pleased with the technology that helped locate Samples and the partnership of both sheriff’s offices to take them into custody without anyone being injured. “The main thing is it happened without anyone else being harmed and lives lost,” Wilson said. “I’m proud of our office.” Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said this case shows the professionalism and dedication deputies have working with law enforcement counterparts in Tennessee and other states. “This is a very tragic incident that because of the quick action of our deputies fortunately had a happy ending,” Fitzhugh said.

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