A “nightmare” has ended for a Virginia family after their 2-year-old son—who had been abducted Sunday from a church nursery—was safely recovered and reunited with his loved ones and two suspects have been charged in the case.
“Thankfully we’ve got some good news to tell you, Noah Trout is safe in the hands of FBI agents and the State Police in Allegheny,” Giles County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Moye announced early yesterday afternoon in a press conference streamed by WSLS.
A few hours later, Sheriff Morgan Millirons announced the arrest of 44-year-old Nancy Renee Fridley, who is facing charges of abduction and felony child endangerment in another press conference late Monday afternoon, according to WSET.
Her boyfriend, Bobby Lee Taylor has also been arrested and charged with abduction in the case by the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, according to local station WFXR.
Trout disappeared Sunday from the Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead, Virginia. Authorities said he was taken from the nursey by an “unidentified female” who left with him in a dark colored van or SUV, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
The alleged abduction appeared to be captured in an image released by authorities that shows the 2-year-old in a bright orange jacket following behind a woman heading to the door of the church. She’s wearing jeans, a blue long-sleeved shirt, a stocking cap and mask covering a portion of her face.
“He followed her out of the building,” Moye told Oxygen.com, adding that authorities do not believe Fridley had any affiliation with the church.
Millirons said after “working non-stop” in a multi-agency effort to recover the boy, authorities were able to identify Fridley as a person of interest and tracked her to a home in Allegheny County.
FBI agents and a tactical unit from the Virginia State Police saw “a child matching Noah’s description in the area of the home” and were able to intervene to safely recover the 2-year-old, who did not appear to be harmed.
Moye told Oxygen.com that the young boy's head had been shaved to try to disguise his appearance.
He was reunited with his family and taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Millirons said the motive in the case has not been determined.
“I know the community wants answers, please be mindful even though Noah has been safely recovered, the investigation is still ongoing and we need to be careful of information that is released so that we do not jeopardize the prosecution of this case,” he said.
Authorities are still trying to determine whether she had known the child before the alleged abduction, Moye said.
He declined to say how Fridley was identified as a person of interest in the case but credited "good old fashioned investigation" with making the arrest.
Stanley Meador, special agent-in-charge of the Richmond FBI Field Office, thanked investigators and those who provided tips in the case with the quick resolution to the abduction.
“Thank you to all of you who provided tips and helped us keep this case front and center because of you Noah gets to rest peacefully this evening under the watchful eye of his parents” Meador said.
Moye said investigators received a photo Tuesday of the young boy back home sleeping in his bed Monday night.
"That was a good feeling to be able to see that," he told Oxygen.com.
After news of the arrest, Riverview Baptist Church Pastor Mike Mitchener said in a statement on the church’s website that he was relieved the child had been recovered safely.
“The last twenty-four hours have been a nightmare for our entire church family,” he said. “It is now that we can rejoice that the child that was kidnapped from our campus yesterday has been safely returned to his parents. We commend law enforcement for their excellent work, and we praise God for answering our prayers.”
He said the incident serves as a reminder to others of the importance of security within church buildings.
“We hope that this criminal act on our campus allows other churches to evaluate their own childcare safety procedures,” he said.
Fridley and Taylor are currently being held in the Alleghany Regional Jail.
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