Police: Man arrested after woman, toddler kidnapped at gunpoint

WATSON, LA (WAFB) - A man wanted for rape in Tangipahoa Parish has been arrested after being accused of kidnapping a woman and her 2-year-old child from the Dollar General Store in Watson. The man is also accused of raping the woman.

Livingston Parish Deputies were contacted by the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office about a stolen vehicle chase on Jan. 24. Deputies say the driver of the vehicle stopped near Calmes Road in St. Helena Parish, a few miles north of the Livingston Parish Line. The driver ran off, but the woman and her toddler were found in the vehicle.

The woman told deputies she and her son were taken at gunpoint and were driven across the parish line into St. Helena Parish, and possibly into Tangipahoa Parish. Officials say the woman did not know the man who kidnapped her.

Charles A. Smith, 28, was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping of a child, and two counts of false imprisonment.

He has an outstanding warrant for rape in Tangipahoa Parish.

"I am saddened by this type of crime happening in our parish," said Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard. "This particular location is close to my home – and we are frequent visitors. This suspect was seen in the area by witnesses as being suspicious, but it was never reported. If you see anyone looking suspicious, please call us. Let's us check them out. That's our job. We are fortunate that we have an adjoining Sheriff in St. Helena that is as committed to solving crime. Sheriff Williams and I were in constant contact sharing information. That was a vital piece in the quick capture of the suspect."

Smith's bond is set at $361,000. However, he has a hold issued on him by Probation and Parole

This investigation is ongoing. More charges are possible.

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