Local News

Durham Police Looking for Man Who Held Baby Hostage

Posted April 10, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Police are searching for a man who locked himself in an apartment and held his one-month-old daughter hostage at gunpoint.

Just before 4 p.m. in the Cressview Apartments on the west side of Durham, witnesses say they saw 29-year-old Fontain Stephens run out of her apartment with two of her children, but leaving the baby inside with her boyfriend, 30-year-old Marlon Hudson.

"She started ripping the window apart trying to get back in, because he locked the door behind her so she couldn't get back in," said Gladys Gaddy, who heard screams from her apartment three doors away. "She just wanted her child."

Gaddy watched as police evacuated her neighborhood. After four hours passed, Durham Police's Selective Enforcement Team moved in like a small army to rescue the child.

"And not knowing what he's capable of doing is on everybody's mind, and what he's going to do with the baby," Gaddy said as she watched.

Durham officers carefully entered the apartment around 7:20 p.m. where they found no gunman inside, but heard the baby girl crying.

"When we entered the apartment, she was found to be in her crib," said Capt. Dwight Pettiford of the Durham Police Department. "She was crying some, but she stopped crying when she was picked up by the officer."

As a police officer carried the baby out of the apartment into safety wrapped in a blanket, Gaddy hoped that the child would never have to live through an ordeal like this one again.

"It's horrifying to hear a child and a mother just hollering for their lives," said Gaddy.

Police are trying to figure out when the suspect disappeared and where he may have gone. They also do not know if he left between the time they received the 911 call and the time they arrived, or sometime later in the evening when police were trying to surround the neighborhood.

Both the mother and baby were being treated at Duke Hospital Sunday night. Police say Fontain was hit with the gun before the suspect left the scene. The baby, they said, was doing well.