Local News

Suspect Arrested in Home Depot Molesting Case

Posted September 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— News last week of an 11-year-old child molested in broad daylight in a busy Durham store shocked every parent who heard about it. Police acted on tips from the public and now a suspect is now behind bars.

A security camera showed the suspect from the back, but even that helped investigators with a very unsettling case. James Russell, 41, is now charged with kidnapping and taking indecent liberties. It all happened at the Durham Home Depot September 13.

Police say Russell waited in the store parking lot for his victim, then followed her into the store. He then allegedly coaxed the girl into the greenhouse area, where investigators say he fondled her.

Many parents heard the story. Some who visited the store Tuesday say their minds are at ease after the arrest. Eileen Bradsher said she was worried because she comes to the store frequently.

Along with tips from the public, police say another big help was the victim's identification of the suspect's tattoo.

Police say they suspect Russell in at least two other molestation cases, one in Durham, the other in Wake County. He is being held on $60,000 bond.

Photographer:Ed Wilson