Updated: Pearl River man accused of molesting child, cutting anotherís throat at Leetown
By Dwayne Bremer
Dec 20, 2013, 19:15
An ex-con on house arrest was arrested Wednesday after authorities said he allegedly kidnapped two young boys in Pearl River County, drove them to a trailer in Leetown, sexually molested one of the children and slashed the other's throat.
James H. Smith, 41, was charged Thursday with attempted murder/aggravated assault, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of sexual battery on a minor.
Police say they believe the alleged sexual assault was one of the motives behind the kidnapping.
"This is a very tragic case" Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said Friday. "I can't help but think about what these kids endured, not only that night, but will endure for their whole lives. It just breaks my heart."
Pearl River County Detective Donnie Saucier said Wednesday that his office received a report of two missing children from the Derby community about 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The children, ages eight and five, respectively, had apparently been at a baby-sitter or care-giver's home, Adam said.
Smith is apparently a cousin of their care giver, Adam said.
About 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Hancock County Sheriff's Office received a 911 phone call from a residence on Mitchell Road in Leetown, Adam said.
The caller said that an eight-year-old child had been cut in the throat area and was bleeding heavily.
The child reportedly told the people in the house "someone is trying to kill me," officials said.
Authorities have not released the names of either child because they are minors.
Neighbors also reportedly saw an adult white male running into a wooded area behind a trailer on Mitchell Road, officials said.
The Leetown Fire Department and paramedics arrived shortly after, along with deputies from both Hancock and Pearl River counties.
Deputies were able to locate the five-year-old, who appeared to be uninjured, officials said.
Firefighters and paramedics were able to stabilize the injured child who had been cut and called a Life Flight helicopter to the scene to transport the child to the hospital.
Deputies then began combing the woods behind the trailer where the suspect was last seen.
The boy was alert at the time, but no immediate update on his condition was available Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, Bass said the boy is in stable condition and should recover from his wounds.
About 7:50 p.m., deputies located Smith on Highway 43 near the Hancock County/Pearl River County line.
After a brief foot pursuit, he was arrested on a nearby dirt road.
Smith was booked at the Hancock County jail Wednesday evening. HIs bond has been set at $3.5 million.
Saucier said Smith may also be charged in Pearl River County, but it is too early in the investigation to know what the exact charges will be.
Smith was on house arrest by the Mississippi Department of Corrections for drug offenses, officials said. MDOC has placed a hold on him.
A child who was allegedly abducted and brutally assaulted Wednesday was taken to the hospital by a helicopter.