South Carolina

Man faces federal charges in kidnapping, rape of SC 4-year-old

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A man is facing federal charges of kidnapping and raping a 4-year-old South Carolina girl whom he drove across three Southern states, authorities announced Wednesday.

A grand jury formally indicted Thomas Evans Jr. on charges of kidnapping, child sexual abuse and transporting a child to engage in sexual activity, according to U.S. Attorney Beth Drake. He could face life in prison if convicted.

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Authorities have said that Evans, 37, picked the girl's mother at random and followed her to her Charleston home after she dropped two of her other children off at school on Feb. 13. He raped and beat the mother before escaping with her daughter, according to police.

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The girl was found with Evans in Alabama on Feb. 14. He fled police and was arrested in Mississippi.

Evans is set to be arraigned on March 27. In court earlier this month on the kidnapping charge, he waived his right to a bond hearing. He also faces charges in state court, including attempted murder, armed robbery, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping.

Authorities are also looking for Sharon Hayden, the woman who owns the vehicle Evans was driving when police said he kidnapped the girl.

Hayden's mother said her daughter is missing. Authorities have said little about that case.

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