Child abduction leads to Easley man’s arrest

EASLEY — An Easley man faces multiple charges after deputies say he tried to break into a home and abducted a child last week.
On January 31, deputies with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to 220 Ridgefield Circle in Easley regarding a trespassing incident. While en route, the deputies were advised that the subject was breaking into the home and that dispatch had lost contact with the caller.
According to a release from the PCSO, when deputies arrived at the home, they found a woman bleeding from wounds to her head standing in the driveway of the house. She was screaming that her baby had been taken.
Police say the victim’s husband, Johnny Edwards, Jr., was found walking down the roadway with an infant in his arms. Ignoring commands from the deputy who located him, Edwards got into his car with the child. A deputy attempted to block Edwards’ SUV using his patrol vehicle, but Edwards drove around it. As another deputy attempted to block the roadway, he said he saw Edwards hang the child out of the open door of the SUV in an apparent attempt to make the deputies back off.
Edwards drove away from the scene with deputies in pursuit. Because Edwards was not driving fast or erratically, the deputies turned off their emergency equipment and followed Edwards’ vehicle. Telephone contact was made with Edwards, and he was convinced to pull off the roadway. After a few moments of speaking with him, Edwards turned the child over to a deputy before again fleeing.
Officials with the PCSO say Edwards called the sheriff’s office later in the evening and requested to meet with the deputy who had taken possession of his child at a gas station in Marietta. When the deputy arrived, Edwards drove around the patrol car and again fled the scene. Two officers with the Department of Natural Resources who were assisting the sheriff’s office began pursuing the vehicle, and during the course of the chase deputies say Edwards used his SUV to strike a DNR officer’s vehicle multiple times.
Edwards again called the sheriff’s office and said he wished to surrender, but he continued to flee from the pursuing DNR officers. As the chase crossed back into Pickens County, the sheriff’s office assumed the pursuit from DNR. The suspect eventually stopped near Beaver Pond Road and was taken into custody. The sheriff’s office is seeking charges against Edwards for first-degree burglary, high and aggravated criminal domestic violence, trespassing after notice, unlawful conduct towards a child, failure to stop for a blue light, child endangerment and resisting arrest. Additional charges are expected from the Department of Natural Resources.
“The deputies did an excellent job, especially by continuing to calmly talk to Edwards while he had the child — obviously, getting the child back safely was the priority,” sheriff C. David Stone said. “They really showed a lot of prudence during the course of a very tense situation. We appreciate the capable assistance provided by the DNR officers during this incident.”