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Tenn. man arrested at New River Valley rest stop, charged with kidnapping New York boy with autism

The two had been using an instant messaging app to communicate, said police

The two had been using an instant messaging app to communicate, said police
The two had been using an instant messaging app to communicate, said police

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – Virginia State Police arrested a 20-year-old man at a rest stop in Montgomery County early Wednesday morning.

James Howard Thomas is charged in connection with kidnapping a 15-year-old boy with autism out of Suffolk County, New York, which is located on Long Island.

The boy was reported missing by family on Tuesday at about 1:30 p.m. and had been last seen leaving his home two hours earlier, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.

Detectives said they determined that the boy had been using an instant messaging app to communicate with a 20-year-old Tennessee man.

Authorities in New York were able to track the pair to a rest stop in Montgomery County, Virginia, which is when they notified Virginia State Police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, who responded to that location, arrested the man and safely recovered the boy, according to Virginia State Police.

Thomas now faces a charge of second-degree kidnapping and is awaiting extradition to New York, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He is currently being held at the Montgomery County Jail.


About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.