Philadelphia kidnapping suspect was wanted in Virginia teen’s rape

Delvin Barnes' home in Charles City, Va., sits unoccupied Thursday. Police arrested Barnes, 37, on charges that he abducted and tried to kill a Virginia girl, 16. A GPS device installed on his car led police to capture him in a case involving an abduction in Philadelphia.
(Steve Helber / Associated Press)

Delvin Barnes, the man accused of kidnapping 22-year-old Carlesha Freeland-Gaither in Philadelphia, was already on the run from Virginia authorities when police say he grabbed the woman, who struggled and kicked out a car window on a widely seen surveillance video.

Days earlier, authorities in Virginia had used DNA evidence to link him to the brutal kidnapping and rape of a 16-year-old Richmond girl, and issued a warrant on six felony counts for his arrest.

Police arrested Barnes on Wednesday, after finding him lying down next to Freeland-Gaither in the back seat of his Ford Taurus. He was transferred late Thursday to Virginia, where he has been booked on the kidnapping charges.


In the Virginia case, police say Barnes hit the girl in the head with a shovel and stuffed her in the trunk.

“She woke up in the trunk at some point when he stopped to take her out of the car,” says Capt. Jayson Crawley with the Charles City County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.

Authorities say he took the girl to a mobile home 30 miles southeast of Richmond, raped her and threatened to kill her. He allegedly showed the girl pictures of other women whom he said he had abducted.

Police say Barnes shared the mobile home with his parents, who they don’t believe were home at the time.

The girl’s mother had reported her missing Oct. 2, according to police, saying she had last seen her daughter at home the day before.

On Oct. 3, Crawley says Barnes took the girl deep into the woods, told her to take her clothes off, and burned them. He then doused the girl with bleach and gasoline, asking the teen how she wanted to die.


According to police, Barnes was digging what he intended to be the girl’s grave when he got distracted. The girl, naked and still covered in gasoline, fled into the woods, running to an industrial supply business a couple of miles away. There, an employee covered her with a coat and called 911.

The girl suffered third-degree chemical burns over 40% of her body, Crawley said, and said she didn’t know the man who had taken her. According to Crawley, the girl is still in the hospital recovering from her injuries, but is in “good condition.” DNA evidence later led authorities to pinpoint Barnes, Crawley said, and they issued a warrant for his arrest Oct. 28.

Federal authorities captured Barnes on Wednesday, after they were able to track his recently purchased car through a GPS tracking system.

By then, Crawley says, law enforcement officials in Virginia already suspected Barnes and the Philadelphia suspect were one and the same, after seeing footage of the abduction and images from an ATM later.

Jeffrey Matthews, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said he and his team tracked Barnes’ car down outside a strip mall in Jessup, Md., about 100 miles south of Philadelphia.

As they approached the car, they could see a plastic bag was covering the right passenger window, the same one Freeland-Gaither was seen in during the struggle.


When they saw a woman, they asked her for her name, Matthews said, but she was too emotional to answer.

“We asked her, ‘Where are you from?’ and she said, ‘Philadelphia,’” Matthews said. “That’s when we knew we got her and we got the right guy.”

They arrested Barnes without incident, Matthews says, and took Freeland-Gaither to safety.

According to court documents filed Thursday, Barnes has admitted to kidnapping Freeland-Gaither and said he did not know her before the abduction.

Barnes has been booked into the Riverside Regional Jail in Prince George, Va., on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, forcible rape, malicious wounding, malicious wounding with a chemical and inanimate object penetration.

He is being held without bond in Virginia, and is due to appear for arraignment Wednesday, court officials said.

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