We previously discussed the horrific abduction of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither from a street in Philadelphia and the fear that such an offender would be unlikely to leave the 22-year-old nurse alive. It was wonderful news last night therefore to learn that Carlesha had been rescued by federal officers and is now at home with her family. The alleged abductor is Delvin Barnes, 37, who has a long history of violence against women and other crimes. Notably, however, it was not his criminal recidivism but his bad debt that proved his undoing.
Barnes was captured (and Carlesha rescued) in the same Ford Taurus shown on the videotape from the abduction. Police then released photos from a cash machine and a store as they closed in on Barnes. He was finally tracked down in a Jessup, Maryland, parking lot Wednesday afternoon. Carlesha was injured but listed in otherwise good condition.
Notably, the authorities were able to track the Taurus through a GPS device placed inside the vehicle by the car dealership. Barnes, not surprisingly, has bad credit and the GPS is a standard protection for car dealers.
Barnes has a long record. He is actually being held on an warrant for attempted murder of a 16-year-old girl last month in Charles City County, Virginia. He was arrested in in November 2005 on a slew of charges including rape, burglary, aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and reckless endangerment. He was accused of beating, sexual assaulting, and holding captive his estranged wife (and mother of his child) who was under a protection order. After the woman was able to call her parents, they ran to the house only to be beaten by Barnes. He was eventually found guilty of aggravated assault, criminal trespassing, false imprisonment and related charges. That was just nine years ago this month.
Only two weeks ago, Virginia officials dropped charges against Barnes for making a bomb threat. It was later reduced to mere trespassing and then dropped entirely. It is not clear what was involved in that charge but there is a report that four days later Barnes was linked in Charles City County, Virginia to the abduction, rape and torture of a 16-year-old girl. She was later found naked, bloody and covered in burns smelling of bleach and gasoline. DNA linked the crime to Barnes.
Given that history, there is even greater reason to celebrate the survival of Carlesha though this harrowing and traumatic experience will no doubt leave lasting emotional scars. However, she is back with her family which worked so hard to find her.
As for Barnes, he is unlikely to be ever free again. Yet, there remains questions of how an individual with such proven violent propensities was able to stay at large while moving in and out of the criminal justice system.