Crime & Courts

Fourth suspect arrested in kidnapping, ransom scheme

MYRTLE BEACH -- Georgetown County police have now charged four people in connection with a kidnapping and ransom scheme, according to Sgt. Neil Johnson with the sheriff's office.

Robert Richardson Jr., 40, of Andrews was arrested about 8 p.m. Saturday, a few hours after Georgetown County Sheriff's deputies arrested Rondell Leon Carter, 30, Matthew Ward Cobb, 18, and a 16-year-old juvenile, all of Georgetown, Johnson said.

Each of the four were charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, first-degree burglary, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, Johnson said Monday.

The investigation began when police were called to the 521 Mini Mart about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, as deputies stopped a vehicle leaving the parking lot. A passenger jumped out, yelling for help, according to the police report.

The passenger told deputies that Carter, who was driving the vehicle, and three other men had been holding the passenger, his girlfriend and another woman hostage at a home on Mossdale Lane in the Rose Hill community of Georgetown County, according to the report.

He told police that Carter had driven him to the store to get ransom money and said if he did not get the money, his girlfriend and the other woman would be killed, according to the report. While they tried to cash the ransom check, the man went into the store to purchase other items and told the clerk to call police.

The man said they'd been held since the men confronted them about 11:30 p.m. Friday and shot his girlfriend during a struggle.

Georgetown County SWAT officers who responded to the house Saturday found the woman, who was shot in the leg, leaving the home, according to Johnson. Inside, officers found the other woman in the living room and Cobb and the juvenile hiding in a bedroom.

Richardson, Carter and Cobb are being held at the Georgetown County Detention Center pending bond hearings. The 16-year-old is being held by the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.