Local News

Authorities Hope To Find Missing S.C. Woman Alive

Posted November 21, 2002 4:41 a.m. EST

— Searchers continue to scour an area in eastern North Carolina for a missing South Carolina woman.

The search for Alice Donovan, 44, who was abducted from a Wal-Mart parking lot on Nov. 14, continued Thursday. Searchers used helicopters and foot teams to comb thick, swampy land south of Wilmington.

Authorities believe Donovan could still be alive and tied to a tree, the Morning Star of Wilmington reported Thursday.

"She may be in the area somewhere restrained," Hewett said. "Anything is possible at this time."

Hewett said authorities' suspicions that Donovan could be alive and possibly tied to a tree stem from the suspects' other apparent abduction in Kentucky two days after their jail break.

James Hawkins, of Hanson, Ky., was kidnapped Nov. 5 by two men with a knife and left tied to a tree outside Evansville, Ind., until he freed himself.

Donovan last was seen at a gas station just off U.S. 17, where she stopped with the two suspects in her blue BMW about 4 p.m. Nov. 14. That was about 1 1/2 hours after Donovan was abducted from the Wal-Mart in Conway, S.C.

The two fugitives have been captured. Chadrick E. Fulks, 25, was arrested Wednesday. Branden Basham was captured Sunday.

Hewett said Fulks put gas in the BMW, paid at the pump and then went into the store to buy something. The sheriff wouldn't say whose credit card was used to buy the gas or what the suspect bought in the store.

"We know without a doubt that the car, the BMW, then left this parking lot back out to U.S. 17 and traveled north,"the sheriff said. "We can put the vehicle at least another 14 or 15 miles north of our location now."

"We also know between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. that the two escapees and the BMW were back in South Carolina," Hewett said. "Whatever they did here in North Carolina with Ms. Donovan, they did quickly."

Hewett asked the public to call authorities with any information about sighting of the BMW, the fugitives or Donovan.