[UPDATE] Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Alive
Carlesha Freeland-Gaither is alive.
The 22-year-old Germantown woman — whose weekend kidnapping was caught on camera — was found in Maryland earlier this evening. A suspect, Delvin Barnes, was taken into custody.
“I’m taking my baby home,” said Keisha Gaither, Carlesha’s mom, at a 7 p.m. news conference.
Investigators said Barnes’s vehicle was spotted near Jessup, Maryland, early Wednesday evening. A task force composed of multiple local and federal police agencies “surveilled” the vehicle — when Barnes stepped out, they arrested him. Freeland-Gaither was in the vehicle, they said; she had suffered minor injuries during the ordeal.
Authorities said they did not know of a relationship between Barnes and Freeland-Gaither, and were working on the assumption the kidnapping was a “stranger” crime.
Barnes, 37, is reportedly a Philadelphia native with Virginia ties. He’s being held on a warrant of attempted capital murder from a previous, separate Virginia case. He will be charged at the federal level in Freeland-Gaither’s kidnapping.
“She’s been returned home safely, a dangerous individual is off the streets,” said Philadelphia Police Capt. James Smith.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other investigators credited the media for widely publicizing video of Freeland-Gaither’s kidnapping, along with follow-up images of a “person of interest” seen at Maryland locations following the kidnapping.
Ramsey declined to speculate on Barnes’s motive.
“Don’t know, other than that he’s a thug and this is what he does, apparently,” Ramsey said. “Hopefully, he’ll be in jail the rest of his life. That’s the only thing he deserves.”
[Updated with mugshot at 9:05 p.m.]
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