S.C. abduction followed texted threat

A Chester man charged with abducting a woman Friday from a Rock Hill Taco Bell sent a text message to the woman the day before saying he was going to kill her, according to police reports.

Clinton Lamont Mason, 30, of Chester was arrested Friday night by law enforcement in Horry County, said Capt. Jerry Hoffman of the York County Sheriff's Office. Police say he abducted a 22-year-old Rock Hill woman Friday afternoon in front of several witnesses. She was found safe nearly six hours later in Myrtle Beach.

“She was assaulted, but (suffered) no major injuries,” Hoffman said.

The alleged abduction came after threatening text messages and at least one phone call from Mason to the victim, authorities said.

On Thursday, the woman filed a report with the sheriff's office complaining of telephone harassment from Mason. That report said she had known Mason for about a week and had been staying with him in Chester. She told Mason the relationship was over and that she did not want to see him anymore, according to the report.

Mason then sent text messages saying that he was going to kill the woman when he saw her, the report said. Authorities saw that message, according to the report.

The report said the woman told police Mason called her and said “that he was on his way to her residence to shoot up the place.”

Then around 3:20 p.m. Friday, police responded to a kidnapping call at Taco Bell on Cherry Road, where a witness told police the woman was crying and holding onto her arm as a man, later identified as Mason, grabbed her from behind, according to the sheriff's office report.

The report said the man forcibly took her from the restaurant, but she got away and came back inside. Then the man came back into the restaurant.

“He pulled her out of the restaurant, put her into the car through the passenger side and managed to drive off without her getting loose,” Hoffman said.

Police later found the woman and her car near Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.

Mason was located nearby and arrested.

“We were able to make contact with her on her cell phone after a long period of time,” Hoffman said. “She was able to direct law enforcement to her.”

Mason now faces a kidnapping charge in York County. He does not face charges in Horry County, an official from the Horry County Detention Center said.

The woman on Saturday was at an undisclosed location, Hoffman said.

Her condition was not available.

“We credit her safe return to the witnesses being alert enough to get the tag number off the car and provide a good description of both the victim and the suspect,” Hoffman said.

Mason had previously been charged with malicious injury to property and criminal domestic violence, according to the S.C. Law Enforcement Division.

Authorities said Mason was expected to be transported to York County.

He remained in custody Saturday at Horry County Detention Center.