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Good Samaritan Foils Attempted Abduction, Chapel Hill, North Carolina…

June 9, 2010

Good Samaritan Foils Attempted Abduction, Chapel Hill, North Carolina…

Lillie Cochran will never run by herself again.

Theodore James Walker used pepper spray on Lillie, a 20-year-old UNC student before attempting to drag her into his car.

Lillie lives within two blocks of the attempted abduction.  “I can’t believe something like this actually happened,” she said.  “I want to feel safe in the location where I live, and now I’m concerned.”

The victim also called 911 after she had been pepper sprayed and two Good Samaritans helped her escape:

    911 Dispatcher: Ma’am, do you need medical attention?
    Caller: Um, I just got sprayed, just pepper sprayed, so whatever you need to do for that.
    911 Dispatcher: OK.
    Caller: In the eyes.
    911 Dispatcher: Do you know why he pepper sprayed you?
    Caller: Na, ah. I mean I was running alone.

Chapel Hill police arrested 26-year-old Theodore James Walker after they say two bystanders stopped the abduction in progress near the area of E. Rosemary Street and N. Columbia Street.

One of the Good Samaritans – Joey Shelton of Pittsboro – was hurt when Walker allegedly hit him with his car while fleeing the scene. Shelton was treated at UNC Hospitals and released.

Shelton and his brother Freddie were running an errand when they saw Walker pulling the girl towards his car. Shelton said they didn’t know what was going on, but the expression of pure fear on the girl’s face and the lack of expression on Walker’s told them something was very wrong.

“She was jogging at first. Eventually out of nowhere this guy grabbed her. He’s grabbing her holding her by her clothes, she’s on the ground panicking, she’s in terror,” said Shelton.

When Walker saw the brothers approaching, he jumped in his vehicle and tried to leave the parking lot, hitting Joey Shelton in the process.  The impact caused Joey Shelton to roll up onto the hood of the car and break the windshield.

Walker was arrested after officers spotted him walking out of a wooded area. His car was dumped nearby. He has been charged with second degree kidnapping, assault on a female, and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Police found a loaded shotgun and a baseball bat in Walker’s car. He allegedly had condoms in his back pocket.

Since his arrest, two Chapel Hill teens have come forward to report Walker tried to force them into his car the day before his arrest. Another woman reported a similar attack a week ago. Investigators are looking into those claims.

Junior Suneha Sundaram, who also lives in the same building as Lillie, was most shocked by the time and place of the attack.  “It shows that bad people are pretty bold regardless of your location or how you’re presenting yourself,” she said.

Shelton said he doesn’t know what to think about local safety after the attack.  “That’s rare in Chapel Hill,” he said. “It’s not every day someone’s going to … run out in the middle of the day and pick up a lady. People go out and do some crazy things.”

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall also said evidence found in Walker’s home links him to the beating of a woman in Pitt County.

In court documents, Judge Beverly Scarlett noted Walker may possibly suffer from mental illness. She called him a danger to women and set his bond at $5 million.

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