News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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September 29, 2012

Police arrest suspect sought in abduction

TERRE HAUTE — A man whose forcible abduction of a woman on county-owned property was captured on video Thursday has been arrested by police.

Darrell A. Elder Jr., 20, of Terre Haute, was arrested Friday afternoon at the state office building at Eighth and Cherry streets in Terre Haute after he appeared for a previously scheduled appointment, accompanied by the woman who he allegedly abducted.

A team of deputies from the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department made the arrest after detectives received a warrant from Vigo Superior Court 4 on charges of criminal confinement, a class-D felony, and battery, a class-B misdemeanor. Elder was taken into custody without incident and was transported to the Vigo County Jail where he was booked in around 4 p.m. His bail was set at $10,000 with no 10 percent allowed.

A two-state alert was issued Thursday after the incident, and tips were called in to police about the identity of the suspect and alleged victim after video of the incident was aired by local media outlets.

Indiana State University Police originally investigated the alleged abduction because it occurred near the parking lot of ISU Married Student Housing on Crawford Street just after 10 a.m., and it appeared that the man and woman in the video might be associated with the university.

After the suspect and victim were identified, both people were questioned Thursday night by ISU Police. The couple told police that they reside together. They were later released by ISU Police.

However, the sheriff’s department continued the investigation because the incident occurred in the parking lot of the Vigo County Juvenile Center. After consulting with the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office about possible criminal charges, a warrant was sought for Elder’s arrest.

Chief Deputy Clark Cottom told the Tribune-Star on Friday that investigators learned that the incident actually began on Third Street when the woman jumped out of a northbound Ford Windstar minivan and ran across Crawford Street to the rear door of the juvenile facility where she banged on the door to get attention.

Staff inside the juvenile center saw the incident occurring on their surveillance cameras, Cottom said, but by the time they reached the area, Elder had forcibly lifted the woman off the ground and loaded her into the minivan. The female reportedly fought throughout the incident, kicking the driver’s side door of the van as it closed.

Security cameras from the Vigo County Juvenile Center captured the abduction from multiple angles.

“He certainly held her and placed her in the vehicle against her will, according to what we saw on video,” Cottom said outside the county jail after Elder’s arrest.

He also noted that public input on the identity of the suspects helped the investigation.

The decision to release the video was based in part on the violent nature of the apparent abduction, as well as the unknown identity of the man and women, and their possible relationship, if any existed.

“When this went down, we had no idea what we were dealing with,” Cottom said. He also noted that since the apparent victim had no bodily injury resulting from the incident, it did not meet the statutory requirement of domestic battery.

Elder is scheduled to appear in Vigo Superior Court 4 on Monday morning.

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

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