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Chapel Hill honors brothers who thwarted apparent kidnapping

Posted June 21, 2010
Updated June 22, 2010

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— Two Chatham County brothers who helped foil an apparent kidnapping last month in downtown Chapel Hill received the key to the city Monday evening.

"It was an act of extraordinary selfless heroism,” Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said.

Joey Shelton said he and his brother, Freddie, were running errands on May 12 when they saw a man grab an 18-year-old woman who was jogging along Columbia Street. The man was dragging her to a nearby car when the Sheltons intervened.

They backed up their Cadillac to block the exit to the parking lot, and the man then let the woman go. As the man fled, he ran into Joey Shelton with his car, knocking him onto the hood and then into the street.

Melissa Williams, who saw the altercation unfold, got the man's license plate number for police.

"I was like, 'Oh no buddy, you are not getting away with this,'” Williams recalled.

Theodore James Walker, 26, of 108 Timber Hollow Court in Chapel Hill, was arrested a short time later, and police said they found a loaded shotgun and a baseball bat in his car and condoms in his pants pocket.

Walker is charged with second-degree kidnapping, assault on a female and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and is being held in the Orange County jail.

The Shelton brothers and Williams were honored Monday for their heroism during the City Council's evening meeting. The mayor said their acts of bravery have helped bring the town together.

"This community in recent years has been scared by acts of violence,” Kleinschmidt said. “You have changed this place.”

Joey Shelton said he is still recovering from injuries he received that day. He said he talks to the woman he rescued on the phone regularly and that she has become like a little sister to him.

"Most importantly, the young lady is fine and I am really interested to see what is ahead for her future,” he said.


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  • carrboroyouth Jun 22, 2010

    I'm the same age and gender as the victim, and my bus stop is right by the spot that the kidnapping attempt took place, so this really hit home for me.

    Thank you so much Joey, Freddie and Melissa - for helping keep Chapel Hill safe! What great citizens :]

  • UPTOP Jun 21, 2010

    It's nice to know there are still some reeaaaaaaal Brothers out there !! represent for the ones not getting reconized !!

  • jenzinnia Jun 21, 2010

    Joey and Freddie....I wish everyone was like you. Here's a big GOLO hug and a heartfelt thanks!

  • TeresaBee Jun 21, 2010

    I was so hoping this would happen!

  • wildcat Jun 21, 2010

    They deserve this honor. Wish there were more like them.

  • happymom Jun 21, 2010


    I couldn't agree more. I enjoy reading the comments for this story almost as much as I enjoy reading about the heroes themselves. They are amazing because not only were they willing to do something, they had the presence of mind to do it quickly and effectively. Thinking on your feet is an invaluable skill.

  • bless 4 me Jun 21, 2010

    So many people see things happening and don't do anything. She should be grateful that these 2 were in the right place @ the right time.

  • itsmyownopinion Jun 21, 2010

    Finally a story it appears everyone agrees on. :)

  • mpheels Jun 21, 2010

    HappyGirl08, I don't know for sure, but I think the women they are honoring is an employee at the bank near the parking deck. She witnessed the event, called 911 as it was happening, and took care of the victim until the police arrived.

  • jackieflash42 Jun 21, 2010

    I SAY THE CITY SHOULD COMMISSION AN ARTIST TO MAKE A STATUTE OF FREDDIE AND JOEY..put it somewhere in town where everyone passing through can see it, appreciate it, and get their pictures taken next to it for generations to come. Freddie and Joey are like icons now and a statute would just preserve their symbolism of what real heroism is.