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The original item was published from 9/10/2021 1:57:14 PM to 10/11/2021 12:00:03 AM.

News Flash

City Marshal/Police

Posted on: September 10, 2021


Kidnapping Incident

DeFuniak Springs Police responded to First Baptist Church Pre-School on Friday morning around 9 a.m. in reference to a disturbance.  The initial complainant reported a vagrant harassing the parents while they were dropping off their toddlers.  Officers responded and were advised the suspect left on foot.  The suspect was located a short time later in the area and was detained.  Officers then spoke to a 16-year-old female who stated when she arrived at the Pre-School to drop off her young niece, a black male approached her and asked for money.   While she was retrieving some money to give to him, the suspect opened her back door to her vehicle and pulled her niece out of the vehicle.  This upset the 16-year-old victim as well as her niece.  She pleaded with the suspect to release her niece, which he eventually complied with.  The victims then went inside the Pre-School to inform the staff of what had occurred.   Pre-School personnel contacted 911 immediately.  The suspect was identified as 61-year-old Jeffrey Thomas Caldwell of DeFuniak Springs. Caldwell, who was intoxicated, admitted to obtaining money from the victim, but denied doing anything wrong.   Based on the victim’s statement and witness statements, Caldwell was arrested and transported to the Walton County Jail.  Caldwell was booked in on charges of Burglary to an Occupied Conveyance while Committing a Battery and Kidnapping.  As of this release, Caldwell is awaiting First Appearance.

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