Accused Kershaw Co. kidnapper's mother posts bond

Published: Sep. 12, 2006 at 2:48 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2006 at 2:59 PM EDT
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Deputies discovered the girl around 7:30 Saturday morning in an underground bunker
Deputies discovered the girl around 7:30 Saturday morning in an underground bunker
Deputies found food and propane
Deputies found food and propane

(Kershaw County) September 21, 2006 - Vinson Filyaw's mother, Ginger Cobb, has posted bond.

She's charged with aiding and abetting and her bond was set at $5,000 on Wednesday. Bond has also been set at $5,000 for Filyaw's common-law wife Cynthia Hall.

Filyaw is charged in a recent kidnapping and rape as well as in an earlier sexual assault.

Investigators believe that while Filyaw was on the run, Cobb supplied him with propane, water and food while knowing he was wanted by the sheriff's department. Filyaw has been wanted on accusation of raping his ex-girlfriend's 12-year-old daughter, before he was accused days ago of kidnapping and raping a Lugoff girl. Kershaw County issued a warrant on the first charge back in April.

Sheriff Steve McCaskill thinks Cobb has been supplying Filyaw "probably as long as he's been on the run."

Although she told officials she didn't know where her son was, they say cell phone records prove otherwise.

Cynthia Hall is also charged with helping Filyaw hide from law enforcement officers, and that may not be all she kept from the law. According to an incident report obtained by News 10, for a month Hall knew Filyaw was sexually assaulting her 12-year-old daughter, but nothing was done about it.

Hall was charged with unlawful neglect - and the kids were taken away from her. The sheriff told News 10 he thinks Hall is "mentally slow."

Also according to that same report, Filyaw said he was going to rape the 12-year-old victim in front of her mother. That's when the victim went to Filyaw's mother's house in Columbia.

Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskill says Filyaw is showing "no remorse."

Filyaw is accused of abducting a 14-year-old and then keeping her in an underground bunker for close to two weeks.

She had been missing since September 6th when she was last seen getting off a school bus on Dry Branch Road in Lugoff. Investigators say she told friends she was walking home.

McCaskill told News 10 that Filyaw posed as a sheriff's deputy with a badge and handcuffs to abduct her. WIS learned that Filyaw actually handcuffed the girl before leading her away from the bus stop.

From there, McCaskill says Filyaw took her into some woods, walked her around until she became disoriented and then put her in the underground bunker.

A big break in the case came Friday night when the girl's mother received a text message on her cell phone, "Hi mom. This is Lizzie. I'm in a hole across from Charm Hill where the big trucks go in and out. There's a bomb. Call police."

Authorities say she sent that text message from Filyaw's phone.

Deputies discovered her around 7:30 Saturday morning in an underground bunker in a heavily wooded area, says McCaskill.

Authorities heard screams and cries coming from the girl, who was just about a mile from her home. She was transported to a hospital where she reportedly underwent examinations and tests.

Inside that bunker, deputies found food and propane, and they say it's obvious someone was living there. The sheriff says the bunker was booby-trapped, making it more difficult for them to rescue the girl.

Filyaw, meantime, had led Kershaw County Deputies, SLED agents and members of the US Marshals Service on a wild tour around the Lugoff area.

Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskill says another break in the case came around 2:30am Sunday when a woman reported to Richland County authorities an attempted carjacking at Capone's Pizza in Pontiac.

McCaskill said that tipped off the task force since the attempted carjacking happened only miles from the concentrated search area.

When investigators made the brief trip across county lines and showed the woman a picture of Filyaw, she immediately identified him.

As soon as the identification was made, agents packed up and moved out from their original command post on Dry Branch Road and headed toward Interstate 20.

Authorities began lining a stretch of I-20 near westbound mile marker 81 and searching the neighboring woods. They also patrolled from above with one airplane and two helicopters. The final stages of the search ended quickly and without much incident, says McCaskill.

By 4:15am, authorities had cornered Filyaw and had him facedown on the side of I-20. However, there was one last twist. Authorities called in the bomb squad to make sure Filyaw wasn't wearing any sort of explosive device.

Once the all-clear was given by the bomb squad, deputies took Filyaw to the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office. There, he was searched and then put in jail.

McCaskill says Filyaw had in his possession a pellet pistol and a long "survivor knife" when they captured him.

The sheriff told us shortly after Filyaw's capture that the girl and her family were contacted about the news. He says she is back home and physically doing well.

"We're just thankful that everything turned out like it did, that [she] was found unharmed and that we took Vinson Filyaw without incident," McCaskill said.

During their investigation, deputies discovered a hole in the floor under Filyaw's bedroom mattress where he might have been hiding all these months.

Filyaw will be charged with kidnapping, possession of an incendiary device and impersonating an officer. Sheriff Steve McCaskill says 46-year-old Vinson Filyaw has also been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Next month Filyaw will have a preliminary hearing

The mother of the 14-year-old says her daughter is resting and recovering from her ordeal that lasted more than a week. She says her daughter is very strong.

Updated 5:35pm by Graeme Moore