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New Details in Dothan Kidnapping Case

By: Tessa Darlington
By: Tessa Darlington

We're learning more about the days that led up to a kidnapping that started in Dothan and ended in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Police say the victim, Ailene Lander, 15, of Dothan and her common-law step-father, Charles "Dean" Partin, 36, were caught in a sexual act at a Tennessee campsite just days before she was abducted. Partin is accused of kidnapping the teen with the help of her biological mother, Julie Bethke.

According to federal court documents, an officer with the Hamilton County, Tennessee Sheriff's Office got called to a campground on September 3, 2012. He claimed a campground worker reported seeing an adult man engaged in a sexual act with a young girl. Police identified the man as Partin and the girl as Landers.

Investigators say at first Partin claimed the girl was 18, a "friend of the family," and they were on vacation together.

Meanwhile, other officers interviewed Landers and learned she was actually 15 years old, five months pregnant, and Partin was her common-law step-father.

At this point officers say they located a hand-written note that appeared to be from Landers' mother in which he stated she relinquished all guardianship for her daughter to Partin. The note was signed but not notarized.

A child abuse investigator showed up and interviewed Partin. He says Partin admitted to being the girl's common-law step-father and lied about his relationship with the girl because of her age and because he was "scared."

Officers then collected a DNA sample from Partin and Landers and released Partin pending the results of the DNA test.

Bethke, Landers' mother, was unable to travel to Tennessee to pick up her daughter so officers turned her over to the custody of Tennessee Child Protective Services.

Three days later a Barbour County judge placed Landers in the temporary custody of the Alabama Department of Human Resources until a thorough investigation into the sexual abuse charges could be complete.

Police said DHR workers received unconfirmed information from Partin's co-workers that he bragged he was the father of the teen's unborn child.

On September 16, police say Partin and Bethke took Landers from the Southeast Alabama Medical Center while the girl was there for a doctor's appointment. Over the next four days, police say the couple traveled with the teen and her five siblings across the country before finally ending up in Cincinnati. Partin's ex-girlfriend alerted the FBI that he and the family were at her house. A Cincinnati swat team was able to go in and arrest Partin and Bethke and take all six children into custody.

Partin and Bethke will be extradited back to Alabama. The children are in DHR's custody.


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