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Charleston Abducted Infant Safe, Suspect Arrested

Reported: Jan. 6, 2014 10:38 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 6, 2014 11:14 PM EST
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Charleston, W. Va. (Kera Mashek) - A nine month old baby boy is home safe with his parents, after being left in a stolen car for about an hour Monday afternoon in freezing weather conditions. The man accused in the crime is also now in jail.

With single digit temperatures and sub-zero wind chills, Emily Mottesheard didn't want to take her nine-month-old son out into the elements. So when she ran into the One Stop gas station in Charleston to make a quick purchase, she left baby Evan bundled up in his car seat, with the vehicle running. It was in those few seconds police say Chris Linville spotted a crime of opportunity to make off with her car, which quickly set off a manhunt and effort to find the baby boy safe.

"I'm just glad we have our son back," said Charles Matheny.

Matheny's glad to be reunited with his baby boy, after nine-month-old little Evan was abducted Monday afternoon. Police quickly surrounded the Charleston One Stop after Matheny's fiancee had her car stolen from the lot, with their baby inside. Within minutes, surveillance images were released of the suspect 20-year-old Chris Linville, and the search began to find him and the baby boy.

"I've spent too much time in the military. I've seen what can happen. I've seen horrible things happen and all of those things went through my head when I didn't know where my son was," Matheny said.

An off-duty Charleston Police officer spotted the stolen car, after hearing media reports about what had happened. He got the baby out of the back seat and called for help. Police officers and a K-9 unit helped track down and arrest suspect Chris Linville, who was hiding in a friend's apartment along Wertz Avenue.

"Just glad they caught him," said Matheny.

And amazingly, even after sitting in a car without heat for almost an hour, nine-month-old baby Evan is safe and healthy.

Linville claims he made a bad decision and didn't know there was an infant in the car when he stole it.

"But as soon as I noticed the car had a baby in it, I parked it by a house where it was close to a house and a family would be able to have their baby back. I'd like to tell the family I'm sorry, and I hope the best," Linville said.

Baby Evan's family is just counting their blessings and say they will never leave him in the car alone again...not even for one second. And dad Charles makes this plea...

"If there's one thing I can say to every parent, including you--it's to go home and hug your kids," said Matheny.

As for Chris Linville, he's now facing some pretty serious charges, including grand larceny, child abduction and child neglect with risk of serious injury or death. He's being held in the Southwestern Regional Jail on a $250,000 cash-only bond.



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