New Information: Suspect's Past - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Batesville, AR - Will Carter Reports

New Information: Suspect's Past

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - When the Amber Alert was issued Friday night for a missing 8-year-old in the Pfeiffer community, it was to the unknowing of many that the man she had been playing with hours before was actually being investigated by the Gray County Sheriff's Department in Texas for kidnapping and rape allegations.

"That's a big problem these days. You can't really always spot somebody like this by their appearance," said Keith Bowers.

As the Independence County Sheriff, he says this is a classic case of a child trusting a stranger and it taking a turn for the worst.

"They thought they were just having a good time, but as you well know, this one turned sour on us," said Bowers.

In fact, 40-year-old Robert Byrd had lured the 8-year-old into the woods near her home while playing a game of hide and go seek.

It was there that they would be found later the same night.

However, in statements to the sheriff's department, Byrd claimed the girl was lost and he was only helping her find her way home.

"I'd rather hear the truth from him to be honest with you, because that's just a weak, weak excuse. Lies in this case doesn't help the situation any. We all know what was going on or what he was trying to do," said Bowers.

Since his arrest Byrd has been charged with kidnapping, 2nd degree sexual assault, and 2nd degree battery.

He is being held in Independence County on a one-million dollar bond.

We are told that the Independence County Sheriff's Department is working with the Gray County Sheriff's Department in Texas on the case.

We're told the incident in Texas, however, involved an adult woman.


Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.

 

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