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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police have charged a man who they say kidnapped his estranged pregnant girlfriend and her toddler from their home in northeast Charlotte Friday morning.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Stanley Benton, 40, kidnapped 40-year-old Adrienne Norwood and 2-year-old Empress Simone Norwood.
All three were located in a car in the parking lot at the McDonald's restaurant in University City on Friday at 5:42 p.m. and the suspect was taken into custody by SWAT officers. The two victims were found safe, according to a CMPD spokesman.
This story was breaking news on Friday's 5 p.m. newscast because police had just issued an alert indicating they were actively looking for the victims and the suspect.
Adrienne Norwood, who is pregnant, and her daughter, were allegedly abducted by Benton earlier in the day. In a written statement, CMPD said Benton "...used unknown means to convince the victims to accompany him in his vehicle."
Friends, coworkers and family members became concerned Friday morning when Norwood didn't show up for work or day care.
Adrienne Norwood later contacted her mother around 3:30 p.m. saying she and Empress were being transported against their will. Norwood told her mother they were in Florence, South Carolina.
A CMPD officer also received a text message from Adrienne Norwood around 4:40 p.m. which said "help."
Benton is Norwood's estranged boyfriend, and police said they were concerned about the child's welfare because a domestic violence personal order had been issued against him.
Warrants had also been issued against Benton for assault with a deadly weapon (knife), communicating threats, and false imprisonment. Those charges likely stem from an incident in the couple's home reported ten days before the kidnapping.
A search warrant released Monday, reveals an escalating problem between Norwood and Benton leading up to the kidnapping. At one point, Norwood's sister said she called police to report Benton was hiding in Norwood's car.
The warrant also says Benton violated the restraining order by leaving Norwood a voicemail days before the kidnapping to say, "I will show up at your work or house and if you call the police I will fight with them until they shoot and kill me."
Following Friday's incident, he now faces two additional counts of felony kidnapping. He is being held at the Mecklenburg County Jail.