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Manhunt leads to capture of Gaston kidnap suspect

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com
GUU7SPRTH.2
Gaston County Police -
Rodney James Helton Jr.

Law enforcement officers searched parts of Gaston County on Sunday afternoon before finding a man accused of kidnapping a woman, cutting her throat and running away.

Gaston County Police caught Rodney James Helton Jr., 21, around 9 p.m. They had obtained warrants on rape, kidnapping and attempted murder charges.

Police were first called to a home on Family Lane in Gaston County about 1 p.m. Sunday, according to a news release from Gaston County Police.

Police were told Helton was heading toward the town of Stanley, also in Gaston County.

Officers found the car believed to be used by Helton in a cul-de-sac in the Creek Walk subdivision off Hickory Grove Road, and a woman with several cuts to her neck ran from some nearby woods towards the officers, according to the release.

At one point she had been identified as a probation officer, but police learned later that was not the case.

EMS took her to Caromont Regional Hospital in Gastonia.

Officers from agencies throughout Gaston County and York County, S.C., began a manhunt, temporarily suspending it as bad weather rolled in. Staff writer Dan Duffey contributed.

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