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Couple charged with kidnapping, abandonment of child left at Goodwill

Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 10:30 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Federal investigators have charged two people in connection with the kidnapping and abandonment of a two-year-old boy who was dropped off at a Goodwill donation center in Southaven.

Surveillance video shows one of the accused walking the child from a Shell station to Goodwill. It then shows a car drive up and stop at a pump. A man gets out, gets the two-year-old out of the back seat, and starts walking toward the Goodwill donation center behind the Shell Convenience store.

Investigators say that man is Jeremy Fitzgerald.

The video also shows an unidentified man in the car, as well as a woman who walks into the Shell. Investigators identified her as 29-year-old Turliscea Turner.

The video follows Fitzgerald as he walks the child to the Goodwill center where police say the little boy was abandoned with a note saying his mother could not take care of him.

Southaven Police got photos out on social media quickly.

Hours later, Fitzgerald was spotted at the Kroger store at Trinity Commons.

Investigators say Fitzgerald crashed the red car seen in the video footage at the Shell. He was taken into custody after a brief trip to the hospital.

Shelby County deputies found Turner inside the Kroger.

The FBI got involved because the child was taken across state lines from Memphis to Mississippi.

Criminal defense attorney Blake Ballin says getting information out quickly can be vital.

“We have cases all the time that started with tips from the public. Sometimes those are good, sometimes they are not,” Ballin said.

According to the federal complaint, Fitzgerald had Turner pose as his sister who would babysit the two-year-old while Fitzgerald and the child’s mother went to Nashville.

The mother said Fitzgerald wanted her to work as a prostitute and she refused, so he left her in Nashville and would not answer his phone.

The complaint says Fitzgerald even demanded money for the child’s return before dropping him off at Goodwill. The toddler was taken by Mississippi Child Protective Services.

If convicted Fitzgerald and Turner face from 20 years to life and a hefty fine. There is no parole in the federal system.

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