JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Jamestown neighborhood has been living in fear for over a week after a 12-year-old girl was abducted from the house while she was sleeping. Police now believe they have a suspect connected to the case in custody.
This case has generated a lot of concern and anxiety in the southern tier. Since the abduction, police have logged hundreds of hours, trying to track down the perpetrator. Late Monday afternoon, authorities made a major announcement.
21-year-old Eric Chant of Jamestown has been in police custody for over a week. Local and federal investigators identified him as the person who they believe is responsible for stealing the 2009 Dodge Caravan used in a recent child abduction.
Chautauqua County DA David Foley said, "I'm not going to comment on how we tied him to the van, again, abandoned in a river."
Nearly two weeks ago, a 12-year-old girl was taken from her Jamestown home in the middle of the night and driven to the Scott Hill Road area in the town of Poland, where she was assaulted. At some point, she managed to get away and find help. A few days later, Chant was arrested on an unrelated charge of burglary. New information was recently developed that allegedly connected him to the theft of the van.
Jamestown Police Chief H. Smellings said, "It's a serious matter and we're showing how we take it seriously."
Forensic evidence is now being analyzed. Those results will dictate which direction the investigation takes.
"We haven't received all the results. We are hopeful it will connect Chant to the abduction," said Foley.
Authorities would not comment on the extent of the girl's injuries, or how she was harmed, but said she did receive medical attention.
NYS Police put a high priority on the forensic evidence they submitted. The results could come in a week or two. If you have any information about Eric Chant, or if you saw someone driving the van used in the abduction, you're asked to call Jamestown Police at 483-7537.
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