A man is
in the McMinn County Jail after police say he kidnaped a 1-year-old girl
while she was sleeping.
Athens police say they were called to Westwood Heights Apartments around
6:45 on Tuesday morning. When they arrived, witnesses told them a man,
identified as Dillon Clayton, used a rock to smash a window in their
apartment, then struck a parked vehicle with a rock.
Witnesses told police Clayton, 23, then went into a nearby apartment
where a man and his 1-year-old child were sleeping. Police say Clayton,
who is from Niota, took the child from her bed and left the house with
her. He told witnesses it wasn't safe for her to be there and that he
was taking her to the helicopter landing pad at Starr Regional Hospital.
Police went to the landing pad, where they began searching for the
child. While they were looking for her, they were told a man had taken a
child to a nurse at the hospital.
Once officers determined it was the same child, they began looking for
Clayton. A short time later, Clayton flagged an officer down in front of
the hospital asking for a ride. He was arrested and taken to the McMinn
“It should go without saying that this type of behavior can’t be
tolerated in our community," said Chief Clifton Couch of the Athens
Police Department. "We are all thankful that this child was able to be
located quickly. I applaud our officers and the staff at the hospital
for handling this situation so professionally.”
Clayton is being held at the jail on a kidnapping charge. His bond is
set at $15,000.