News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 25, 2012

Woman in kidnap case gets 15-year sentence

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute woman who kidnapped a 4-year-old boy last year has received a 15-year prison sentence in U.S. District Court.

April D. Bell, 29, must also pay a $1,000 fine and will have 10 years of supervised release after serving her sentence in federal prison.

Her co-conspirator, Nicholas Runyon, 25, is to appear this morning in federal court for sentencing.

Both Bell and Runyon signed plea agreements, with Bell facing a possible term of 14 to 20 years in prison. Runyon’s plea agreement calls for a prison term of not less than 20 years followed by supervised release for life.

The couple was arrested in Pikeville, Ky., on July 28, 2011, after abducting the child more than 48 hours previously. They were indicted in federal court three months later on charges of kidnapping the child, who Runyon knew from a prior relationship with the child’s mother.

The alleged kidnapping occurred July 26, 2011, after Runyon and Bell took the child under the false pretense of taking him to a birthday party for another child. Investigators allege that Bell and Runyon planned to abduct the child.

Police picked up the couple’s trail after a family member reported that a credit card and debit card had been taken by one of the suspects and was being used for unauthorized transactions in other states. Tracking those transactions led police across Indiana into Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eventually to Kentucky, where Bell and Runyon were located with the child at a motel.

Runyon and Bell were taken into custody after police located a white minivan matching the description of their vehicle in the parking lot of

The couple has been held in federal custody since their arrest.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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