The suspect in the kidnapping of a 4-year-old Lowcountry girl was arrested Wednesday night in Mississippi.
The girl, Heidi Renae Todd, who was reported missing Tuesday on Johns Island, was found safe on Wednesday by Riverside, Alabama, Police Chief Rick Oliver, who was checking on a driver sleeping in a vehicle parked in a wooded area.
In a news conference, Oliver said his suspicions were raised because of where the blue Chevrolet Impala with an Illinois license plate was parked.
“There was no reason for him to be that far off in a wooded area,” Oliver said.
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After handing Todd over to the police chief, the driver sped away.
Thomas Lawton Evans, 37, from Charleston County, was identified as the driver of the vehicle in which Todd was found by 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
Evans was arrested in Mississippi after a car chase, according to Oliver.
“The good Lord put me in the place — as well as the fire chief — that we needed to be to take care of this little girl,” Oliver said. “His hand was on the little girl.”
The child was reported missing in the area of 2985 Sweetleaf Lane at 5:50 p.m. Tuesday, and the search for her continued throughout Wednesday, according to the Charleston Police Department.
“We give God the glory and thanks that all of our prayers have been answered and in fact Heidi Todd is safe in the hands of the FBI,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said during a news conference Wednesday night. “I’ve spoken with members of the family. They area so thankful and so blessed at this news.”
Evans’ relationship to the Todd family, if there is one, was not clear.
Another person of interest has not yet been identified.
“We anticipate warrants from the state charges, the local charges for kidnapping,” Wilson said at the Wednesday night news conference. “We also anticipate the FBI to secure their complaints, their warrants soon as well. We anticipate there will be additional charges filed.”