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Search Continues For a Car Thief and Kidnapper

By: Deborah Tuff Email
By: Deborah Tuff Email

The search continues for a car thief who kidnapped a young Georgia boy in Ashford over the weekend. The boy was found unharmed.

The incident has officials looking at how they handle Amber Alerts.

"I do think we need to take a closer look at the Amber Alert and see if we can get it out a little quicker at night or on the weekends,” says Sheriff Andy Hughes. “We have to call Montgomery, fax the sheet to Montgomery and by the time someone goes to the Alabama Crime Justice Information Center and then puts out the Amber Alert sometimes there can be a lot of time that lapses.”

Houston County Sheriff Hughes admits it took too long to alert media a 4 year old had been kidnapped in Houston County. A timeline of events shows around 11 o'clock Friday night Hank Ready stops by a Chevron gas station in Ashford. Outside he leaves his 4 year old son Tommy in his car.

Things turn for the worse when a man who seemingly peers inside the Chevron to see if Ready is preoccupied, steals the Georgia residents car and kidnaps his son.

An Ashford Police officer a couple of blocks away responded to the scene, but by then the suspect was well on his way. The ordeal last 2 and a half hours.

Authorities say they found the stolen vehicle with the child inside at Ussery Homes in Dothan.

Ashford police say they are too small to handle a case of this magnitude and if it weren't for surrounding agencies they probably wouldn't have found the boy so soon.

Ashford Police Department Chief Roane Lawler says, "A lot of us have our own children and grandchildren so we know how important this is."

Meanwhile, the Houston County Sheriff's Department, who took over the case, says changes will be made.

"We need to talk to the state about this to see if there is something that can speed up the process," says Sheriff Hughes.

Authorities are looking for Otis Whitt who's wanted for questioning in the case.

If you have any information, call the Houston County Sheriff's Department at 677-4888 or your local authorities.


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