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Reporter Charged with Kidnapping 3 Girls

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Reporter Charged with Kidnapping 3 Girls

Article excerpt

Authorities say a former Knoxville reporter took three girls hostage in his sport utility vehicle and threatened to take them along on a robbery and kill them.

Kevin Lee Pettiford, 41, faces charges of reckless endangerment, third-offense driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law and three charges of especially aggravated kidnapping.

Knoxville police say the ride ended after one of the girls used her cell phone to call her mother Lena Lowery from a fast food restaurant bathroom.

Lowery told the Knoxville News Sentinel that on Tuesday her 11-year-old daughter and two other girls went to play with Pettiford's niece.

Pettiford took the four girls to get ice cream around 7 p.m., Knoxville police investigator Debra Maberry wrote in an arrest warrant. Lowery said her daughter knew something was wrong when Pettiford didn't stop at any restaurants.

"He was driving fast," Lowery said. "He told them he needed some money. He said he was going to go rob a bank and get $25,000 and buy them some pretty new clothes, and then he was going to shoot them and kill them and send them to heaven. …

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