LIBERTY — Four people remain in custody for kidnapping and assault and battery in the first degree following an intense investigation by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office into the abduction of a toddler from Liberty.
Stephanie Lynn Hopkins of Liberty, Steven Keith Trotter of Marietta, Ethan Chantz Esuary of Easley and Bridget Renee Esuary of Easley are being held on multiple charges in the Pickens County Detention Center.
According to PCSO Chief Deputy Creed Hashe, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, at approximately 9 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a physical confrontation and subsequent kidnapping of a small child at 112 Sherri Lane in Liberty.
“Upon arrival, deputies discovered that multiple occupants in two separate vehicles had moments earlier been involved in a physical altercation with the mother of a small child along with a neighbor that had attempted to come to the mother’s aid,” said Hashe. “Witnesses informed the Sheriff’s Office that the occupants from both vehicles attacked the mother while she was holding the child outside near a driveway and had forcibly gained possession of the child, placed the toddler into one of the vehicles and fled the scene.”
Hashe stated the neighbor (who was later determined to be a witness) had also left prior to deputies arriving at the location, seeking help at a local emergency room where he was treated for “a large laceration to the arm.”
“Detectives immediately launched an investigation and subsequent search for the child that was later found to be in the presence of the father at a residence in Pickens County,” he said. “The child was unharmed and had been taken to the residence shortly after the abduction occurred.”
Sheriff’s detectives conducted an in-depth investigation into the incident throughout the week and as a result, four adults have been arrested and charged with multiple offenses, Hashe said.
Detectives have confirmed that all parties to include the mother are acquaintances or in some cases related to one another, he said.
“All four individuals were arrested in Pickens County without incident and booked into the Pickens County Detention Center just after midnight on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, for the charge of Kidnapping,” Hashe stated. “Late yesterday (Friday) afternoon, additional charges were filed by detectives and all four subjects are still detained within the Detention Center after having been arraigned by a Pickens County Magistrate earlier this morning.”
The child was taken into Emergency Protective Custody by the Sheriff’s Office on the night of the incident and has been turned over to the Department of Social Services pending an investigation by DSS, he said.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.