An attempted kidnapping suspect is in jail for the third time in a week after local law enforcement found him after a Friday afternoon manhunt.
Starkville Police Department and Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office began a manhunt in downtown Starkville on Friday afternoon for John B. Arnold, 45. Starkville Police Department announced at about 5:50 p.m. that Arnold was in custody.
SPD Public Information Officer Brandon Lovelady confirmed to The Dispatch that Arnold had removed an ankle bracelet with a GPS monitor he was ordered to wear as a condition of his bond, sparking the manhunt.
According to SPD, an OSCO deputy located spotted Arnold near Greenfield Street. Arnold was taken into custody without incident.
On Saturday morning, Arnold’s bond was revoked during a hearing in the Oktibbeha County Jail, where he is now being held without bond. SPD announced in a press release that Arnold has also been charged with contempt of court, and more charges are expected.
Arnold was initially arrested Feb. 16 for trying to check a child out of Sudduth Elementary School — which is located on Greenfield Street — without the parents’ permission. He posted $100,000 bond on the attempted kidnapping charge, but was arrested again on Tuesday for violating the conditions of the bond because he attempted to contact one of the child’s family members.
Justice Court Judge Marty Haug reinstated his bond on Wednesday and released him on several conditions — one being that Arnold wear the ankle bracelet.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Haug warned Arnold that if he violated his bond again he would go to jail “and stay there until this case is done.”
Depending on his location on Greenfield Street, Arnold may have violated a second term of his bond — Haug ordered him not to go within 500 feet of the victim’s school, or the home of the victim’s family.
Additional terms of Arnold’s bond are that he is forbidden from having weapons of any kind while on bond; is forbidden from consuming drugs or alcohol; waives extradition if he leaves the state of Mississippi; is forbidden from making contact with the victim or his family; and cannot leave the city of Starkville without authorization from the court.
During Wednesday’s hearing, SPD detective John Michael Lay noted that several people in the community are “scared” of Arnold, who he said can be “overly aggressive and armed and dangerous at times.”
Lay also noted that Arnold has previously faced charges of assault, disorderly conduct and possession of a firearm in Mississippi, and several counts of second degree battery in Louisiana. Lay acknowledged that Arnold is not a convicted felon during the hearing.
Law enforcement officers had a heavy presence downtown by about 4 p.m. Friday.
During one phase of the search, officers focused heavily on the State Theatre.
Hobie Hobart, owner of Hobie’s on Main, located in the upstairs portion of the building, said Arnold used to have business ties to the State Theatre.
“He has no more ties to this business or the building,” Hobart said. “He had keys to the building, so that’s why they were up here.”
Some officers left the State Theatre to investigate a home on Brittany Lane, off of Old West Point Road in east Starkville. They left the home without making an arrest.
The search then spread to a broad area, with officers saying Arnold was believed to be in a general area from West Point Road to the Starkville Neighborhood Market. SPD warned citizens during the search that Arnold was considered armed and dangerous.
Some day care and preschool facilities observed lockdown procedures during the manhunt, including First Baptist Church Creative Learning Center, located downtown less than a block from SPD headquarters.
Delisha Lacey, who has been director at CLC since October, found out about the possible manhunt at about 4 p.m. and pulled all children and staff inside. She then notified all the parents that a partial lockdown was in place and informed them of the procedures for picking up their children.
“Parents were calling to make sure it wasn’t a drill or a hoax,” Lacey said. “There wasn’t a lot of chaos, and it stayed pretty calm. … Everybody was still gone by 5:30 (the school’s normal closing time).”
Managing editor Zack Plair contributed to this report.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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