CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia woman is accused of abducting a 2-year-old from a church, and a prosecutor said she tried to mislead investigators by giving them false tips.
Nancy Renee Fridley is charged in Giles County with abduction and child abuse or neglect, The Roanoke Times reported Friday. Fridley also faces a methamphetamine charge in Alleghany County, where Noah Gabriel Trout was located by Virginia State Police and the FBI.
According to investigators, Fridley was sending the fake tips to them with the intent of directing the search for the child into Tennessee instead of into Alleghany County.
The toddler was taken from a nursery during Sunday services at Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead. During the 25 hours that Fridley allegedly had Noah, she and her boyfriend shaved the child’s head and introduced him to neighbors as “Bobby Jr.,” saying he was the son of Fridley’s boyfriend Bobby Lee Taylor, the prosecutor said.
Fridley seemed to be planning to abduct another child as well — besides Noah, she seemed to be seeking a younger boy, Giles County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bobby Lilly said during Thursday’s bond hearing.
Fridley was seeking a bond to be released from jail, where she has been held since her arrest on May 4, the day after Noah was taken from the church.
Judge Robert Viar in Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court declined to set a bond. “I can’t think of anything that would guarantee the safety of the public at this point.”
The prosecutor said Fridley seemed to be working to create circumstances where she could take two children. She told neighbors that she was getting back custody of her two boys, one with an age of about 2 and one younger, Lilly said.
Officers found two fully set-up beds for children in the mobile home that she and Taylor shared in Clifton Forge, Lilly said. She had bought children’s sippy cups, and officers found a child’s onesie that was too small for Noah, Lilly said.
Lilly said there was evidence that in March or April, Fridley visited a church in Narrows. She returned to the Narrows church on May 3 and went to its child care area, where she gave a false name for herself and said that “Larry” was sick and had asked her to pick up a child, Lilly said.
But church members questioned Fridley and when she gave a name for the child she was looking for, they said it was not the name of anyone there and turned her away, Lilly said.
Investigators determined that Fridley then went to another Narrows church, across the street from the first, and again said she was there to pick up a child, Lilly said. She was turned away there as well.
Fridley went on to Ripplemead and Riverview Baptist Church, where she talked to nursery workers, and pointed to Noah, saying he was the boy she was supposed to take, Lilly said.
When a state police SWAT team moved in on Fridley and Taylor’s residence May 4, they found Fridley in a vehicle with Noah, having enlisted a neighbor to take them to a different location, Lilly said.
Though the bond hearing was held in Montgomery County, Viar said that a preliminary hearing for Fridley, now scheduled for Aug. 16, will be back in Giles County.