Two Florida men are facing federal charges in the May 25 kidnapping of a Columbia woman, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a press release.
"Rusty Ballard," 36, and Scott Ogden, 19, both of Naples, Fla., have been charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, according to U.S. Attorney W. Walter Wilkins.
The indictment charges that Ballard and Ogden abducted a woman, identified in court papers only as "A.E." from the parking lot of the Olympia Market on Texas street in Columbia. The indictment accuses Ballard of forcing the woman into the backseat of a car using a choke hold.
Columbia firemen saw the abduction and attempted to block the car from leaving the parking lot, but were unsuccessful, Wilkins' office said. Ballard, Ogden, and the woman transferred to a truck while in Columbia, and Ogden drove the truck to a Days Inn in Conyers, Ga. where he left Ballard alone with the victim, Wilkins' office said.
Wilkins' office said that the next morning Ballard and the woman went to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, where Ballard attempted to explain that the kidnapping had been staged. Ballard was arrested at that time.
If convicted on both counts, Ballard and Ogden face a maximum possible sentence of life in prison and a $500,000.00 fine.
This case was investigated by agents of the FBI, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, and the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office. This case is assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Jendron Jr., of the Columbia office for prosecution.