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Bedford County chase ends in Amherst County with parents in custody

Started after they went to check a parental abduction case with two children involved

Paul Ritchie Jr. was arrested after a police chase.
Paul Ritchie Jr. was arrested after a police chase. (Courtesy: Bedford County Sheriff's Office)

BEDFORD CO., Va. – Two people were arrested after a chase Friday night.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office got a message from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office at 8 p.m. requesting deputies check an address on Centerville Road in reference to a parental abduction case out of their jurisdiction.

The message said a husband and wife, Paul Ritchie Jr. and April Ritchie, were possibly there with their 2-year-old and 13-year-old children who were considered missing and endangered.

At 8:30 p.m., Bedford County deputies went to Centerville Road and saw a man sitting in a minivan. Deputies say he sped off and a chase started going speeds between 40 mph up to 80 mph north on Rt. 122, Big Island Highway, to Rt. 501.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s office says the minivan turned left onto Rt. 501, Lee Jackson Highway, and traveled north to Rt. 130 into Amherst County.

Amherst County deputies took the lead in the chase and at 9:07 p.m. were able to get the minivan stopped.

Paul Ritchie Jr., 38, of Timberville, Va., was taken into custody and charged with felony elude police, resisting arrest, along with the Rockingham County kidnapping by a parent charges.

While the chase was going on, other deputies along with Bedford Town police officers checked the address and found April Ritchie, 34, of Timberville, Va., and the two children there. She was taken into custody for two counts of kidnapping by a parent and a capias for fail to appear in Rockingham County J&D Court.

Bedford County Social Services took custody of the two children.

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