Four people have been charged with kidnapping a 3-year-old girl in Liberty late Tuesday night, forcibly taking the child from her mother's arms, the Pickens County Sheriff's Office announced Friday.
The accused are the 3-year-old's paternal grandmother and the woman's friends, Chief Deputy Creed Hashe said
Officers responded to a home on Sherri Lane around 9 p.m. Tuesday and determined that people in two separate cars had moments earlier had a physical confrontation with the child's mother and with a neighbor who tried to come to the woman's aid, according to a statement from Hashe.The people took off before deputies arrived.
According to arrest warrants, the kidnapping was planned in a jailhouse phone call, then carried out as the accused used personal weapons and a bat to beat the child's mother and to injure the neighbor. The neighbor suffered a deep cut on his right arm that required 25 stitches. The mother had wounds on her hips, head and ribs, according to warrants.
During the confrontation, the people "forcibly gained possession" of the the little girl, who was found unharmed in the custody of her biological father, Hashe said.
The people charged in the case are all jailed at the Pickens County Detention Center.
Stephanie Lynn Hopkins, 39, the toddler's grandmother, is charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and two counts of assault and battery. Her bail set at $60,000.
Hopkins' boyfriend, 37-year-old Steven Keith Trotter, has almost the same charges, except that he faces only one count of assault and battery. He is jailed with his bail set at $50,000.
Bridget Renee Esuary, 40, a friend of Hopkins, and her 20-year-old son, Ethan Chantz Esuary, are each charged with kidnapping and assault and battery. Their bail is set at $40,000.
All four were taken into custody around midnight Thursday, Hashe said.
The girl is in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, which is doing an additional investigation, Hashe said.
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