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Alleged kidnapper caught at Watt Road

Knox County deputies arrested Ricky D. Jones, 33, of California at the Petro Stopping Center truck stop on Watt Road at Interstate 40-75 about 1:45 p.m. Saturday, July 1, charging him with two counts of kidnapping in a cross-country episode that involved two Los Angeles area residents.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Martha Dooley said Jones, an independent trucker from Carson, Calif., reportedly gave rides to two women, ages 18 and 16, at their request.

But his passengers later told deputies that Jones had held them against their will and had threatened and assaulted them between stops as he made truck deliveries at various locations along his route, including West Knox County.

Deputies charged Jones with two counts of kidnapping. Dooley said he is being held in Knox County Jail in lieu of a $200,000 bond.

Dooley said the younger woman, a 16-year-old runaway from Lancaster, Calif., had left Jones’ truck to use a Watt Road truck stop restroom and instead, had telephoned her mother in California after Jones let her out of his truck.

The woman told her mother she feared Jones might kill her if he suspected that she had called. The California mother told her daughter to tell truck stop employees of her plight.

Employees there locked the daughter in a stock room for her own safety, then summoned deputies who arrested Jones when he entered the business seeking her.

Deputies later found the second California woman, 18, in Jones’ truck.

The elder woman told deputies that Jones, at some point, had broken her arm.

Both women alleged they had been held by Jones against their will and that he had threatened them sexually since Thursday, June 22, when they first accepted rides from Jones.

Dooley said records showed that Jones previously was convicted of kidnapping, but he had been released before he completed his five-year sentence. Jones was also alleged to have raped a child younger than 14 years old.

Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison, Dooley said, would confer with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Knoxville to decide whether Jones should face federal charges for illegally transporting a minor across state lines.


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