Local News

'America's Most Wanted' arrested in Miss. for Raleigh crimes

Posted November 2, 2011
Updated November 9, 2011

— A Franklin County man featured on "America's Most Wanted" on kidnapping charges in Raleigh has been arrested in Mississippi.

Ocean Springs, Miss., Police Chief Lionel Cothern said Wednesday that Nathan Randall Pettigrew, 32, was arrested Tuesday at a traffic stop near his home where "he was living under the radar" as Jason A. Kirkwood.

Pettigrew was wanted in Youngsville on charges of statutory rape and indecent liberties with a minor and in Raleigh on charges of first-degree kidnapping, larceny, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and injury to personal property.

Youngsville police were looking for Pettigrew after a 15-year-old girl reported that he had sexually assaulted her in July 2005.

According to Raleigh police Capt. Craig Haines, less than a month later, on the night of Aug. 2, 2005, Pettigrew convinced his 19-year-old ex-girlfriend to pick him up, near the intersection of Old Wake Forest Road and Capital Boulevard and forced her to drive at knifepoint. It's unclear where he might have been headed.

The woman was able to escape after two attempts and ran into a convenience store on Peace Street, where witnesses called 911.

Pettigrew hadn't been seen since.

In 2007, his case was featured several times on WRAZ-TV's crime show, "NC Wanted" and made national headlines when "America's Most Wanted" featured it in 2008.

Nathan Pettigrew Wanted fugitive captured in Mississippi

"It's very gratifying for law enforcement," Haines said. "It's even more gratifying knowing that we're going to be able to help the victims out and get them to the next stage to bring justice for them."

Haines called Pettigrew's arrest a group effort over the last six years of local and federal law enforcement officers as well as agencies across five states.

Haines said Oceans Springs police had been assisting with surveillance for several weeks after Raleigh investigators developed information that Pettigrew had been living in Ocean Springs under an alias.

Pettigrew had been working in construction in a town still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina, Cothern said. He's now in the Ocean Springs Municipal Jail, awaiting extradition to Raleigh.

"This is one case that's successful, but there's a lot more that you don't hear about. We take this case and every case very seriously – whether it's one year, two years, six years or 10 years," Haines said. "We're always going to continue. We're not going to close out a case. We're going to follow every lead until we actually apprehend a suspect."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • brandonandjason Nov 4, 2011

    look all you think you know what happened but maybe befor you all hang him out to dry you should find out what relly happened and not jump to any thing so fast

  • d1967cm Nov 3, 2011

    I worked with Nate dawg, he was a peice of work, not worth the paper money is printed on.

  • ProudBlackSingleMother Nov 2, 2011

    I suspect that there is more to this story than what WRAL reported. I want to hear this guy's side.

  • whyalltheproblems Nov 2, 2011

    good call, catalyst74.
    this arrest leaves me to hoping they find the person who killed the pregnant woman while she was delivering papers a number of years back

  • Rebelyell55 Nov 2, 2011

    There are those who are drawing unemployment, ssi and so on while in jail, just ain't got caught yet is all.

  • catalyst74 Nov 2, 2011

    They should have seen if he could out run a gator.

    It'd be hard to run from a gator tied to a tree stump...just sayin ;)

  • lakeyk1 Nov 2, 2011

    People....I know that you are not qualified to draw unemployment in jail or prison and the all expense paid trip...It was a comical(joke)/pun,directed toward the judicial system,not meant to be a factual statement.Yes,I AM GLAD he was caught,does that qualify "my right" just knowing that he was caught and will receive "some type of punisment" and be off the streets for awhile at my expense when I can barely keep my house and feed myself?...forget medical/dental services.Somehow my right doesn't seem to carry as much respect and weight as Mr. Pettigrew's rights. lakeyk1

  • weasel2 Nov 2, 2011

    They should have seen if he could out run a gator.

  • Legally Here Nov 2, 2011

    good work

  • Wendellcatlover Nov 2, 2011

    What's scary to me is that this guy (in the 2nd photo) looks like someone my daughters might bring home. I guess you never truly know someone and what they are capable of. Looks can be very deceiving. I'm glad he's behind bars now. He's had 6 years of freedom he shouldn't have had, but hopefully that has now changed.