Investigators: Man accused of abducting N.C. teen had spoken online with other juveniles in the state

Updated: Feb. 22, 2021 at 12:03 PM EST
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LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. (WBTV) - Investigators say the man accused of abducting a North Carolina teenager had spoken with other young girls in Alamance County.

Police say 38-year-old William Robert Ice, from Pennsylvania, died following a shootout with police officers Saturday night in Arkansas. That’s where officials found 14-year-old Savannah Grace Childress, who had been missing from Davidson County, N.C., since Feb. 11.

A new report states that when the investigation began, investigators quickly found Ice had been communicating with Childress and “several other” juvenile females who were in Alamance County, via online platforms.

Detectives spoke with the other girls Ice had reportedly contacted, and say the information provided was beneficial to the case. Ice was identified as the suspect shortly afterwards.

“We’ll never know who he’s touched or anybody else on a media platform that we have no firewalls to stop it,” said Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Major Robert Miller. “This has opened up a window for any predator out there to walk right on in.”

Officers say Ice and Childress were found at a McDonald’s in Lonoke County, Arkansas over the weekend. That led to a shootout with police and a pursuit. After crashing into a snowbank, police say Ice was found wounded from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The girl was able to escape.

N.C. teen found safe; accused abductor dies following shootout with police in Arkansas
N.C. teen found safe; accused abductor dies following shootout with police in Arkansas(Pennsylvania crime watchers)

Below is a timeline of what happened, according to officials:

Investigators say Ice took Childress from her home in Davidson County and took off in his red Dodge Durango.

Deputies say an arrest warrant was obtained for Ice for first-degree kidnapping and soliciting a child by computer.

Leads led officers to locate Ice and the teen in the area of Lonoke County, Arkansas near I-40.

On Saturday night, two Lonoke police officers spotted the car at the McDonalds.

Officers approached the car, with two people were inside, and told Ice to get out of the car.

Childress is described as a white female, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 135...
Childress is described as a white female, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds. She has medium length brown hair and green eyes.(North Carolina Department of Safety)

However, police say as Ice got out of the car, he aimed a gun and shot one of the officers, critically injuring the officer.

A second officer fired back at Ice, who jumped back into the car and took off.

Officers say a pursuit continued until it stopped near a snowbank. The girl jumped out and was secured by a state trooper, according to Davidson County deputies.

Ice was found in the car with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He died Sunday in the hospital.

Ice was also wanted in Pennsylvania in connection with another child predator case.

According to Pennsylvania state troopers, Ice had a warrant for arrest for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old.

He also had a pending criminal case for charges resulting from an online sting conducted by the Human Trafficking Task Force in Ohio.

If you have any information regarding this abduction, call the Davidson County Sheriff Office immediately at (336) 242-2105, or call 911 or *HP.

In the community of Denton, the case was a big topic of conversation on Monday.

“We’re a small community and usually when something goes wrong, we have an event, we all pull together to try and help the community,” said Jane Stilwell. “We just thank God that they found the girl and she wasn’t harmed, and God brought her home safe.”

“We’re a close community,” added Penny Wilson. “I’m just glad that she’s okay, they found her.”

Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons said this case should serve as a warning for parents.

“Be a parent, watch what your kids are on, watch who your kids are talking to, know who they are talking to,” Simmons said. “You may not be the coolest parent in the world but they’ll thank you one day. Discipline is a good thing.”

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