A mother and her two children are returning home today unharmed after being abducted from their Sampson County residence in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and the man believed responsible for their kidnapping is in custody.
Contacted Saturday morning, Sampson County Sheriff’s officials confirmed reports of the kidnapping and acknowledged that authorities were expected to bring Alex Fernado Meza Acosta, 33, of Durham to the Detention Center later this morning where he will be charged with kidnapping, among likely other offenses.
When questioned Saturday morning, Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Pope said the incident occurred just before midnight Friday when a man, believed to be Acosta, took Ebelin Barahon, 39, and her two children — a 9-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy — from their Shaun Lane residence just outside Clinton.
The victim’s sister, Pope said, alerted authorities that the three had been abducted.
Acosta is, the captain noted, the father of the two children.
“Through an all-night investigation, we were able to get a possible address of an apartment in Durham where we believed the victims could be,” Pope said. “We requested assistance from the Durham Police Department who sent their tactical team.”
The tactical team, the captain said, executed a hostage rescue at the residence and were able to take the suspect into custody and recover all three victims, basically unharmed.
“The adult victim had minor injuries but they did not require hospitalization,” Pope said.
This morning, authorities were working to bring Acosta and the victims back to Sampson County, and Pope expected that would happen by early afternoon. Charges, he said, would be leveled at that time.
Contacted this morning, Sheriff Jimmy Thornton offered his thanks to the Durham Police Department for their help with the case and expressed his deep gratitude that this incident ended safely.
“We are thankful this investigation concluded without anyone being seriously harmed, and that we were able to report that it was kidnapping we were able to solve and nothing worse.
“I’d also like to thank the Durham Police for their immediate and professional response,” Thornton said.
(Sherry Matthews can be reached at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd.)