The woman was kidnapped the night of Dec. 21 and escaped two days later when her captor fell asleep, according to Comer Police Chief Dennis Bell. The woman, who exhibited visible injuries, had been bound and tortured inside the home on Flint Street, Bell said on Monday. Fearing for her life, she sought refuge with relatives in Athens and last Tuesday reported that she’d been kidnapped, he said.
Antonio Lavanta Meadows, 30, was arrested later that day and charged with kidnapping with bodily injury.
On Monday, Meadows was additionally charged with three counts of possession of a destructive device and single counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, battery, burglary, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug-related objects.
When serving the kidnapping arrest warrant, according to Bell, authorities found scales and “precursors” for manufacturing and distributing marijuana, but not enough to charge Meadows.
They also found three live pipe bombs, packed with shrapnel, that were subsequently detonated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s bomb disposal unit. The small Flint Street neighborhood, comprising about a half-dozen homes, was evacuated as the bombs were removed from the scene. Bell said it was possible that the bombs were intended for protection of an illegal drug operation being conducted out of Meadow’s home on Flint Street.
Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted with the search and continued a separate investigation that is expected to result in federal charges against Meadows, according to Bell.
Also participating in the investigation with Comer police officers were Madison County sheriff’s deputies and Georgia State Patrol troopers.
“Fortunately no one was hurt and we got a bad guy off the street,” Bell said.
The victim of the kidnapping was Meadow’s girlfriend, according to Bell. She told investigators that Meadows got upset when he found something on her cellphone. He knocked the woman unconscious then used a chain, electrical cord, rope and a shirt to tie her to a chair, the police chief said. After placing a sock in the woman’s mouth and a pillow case over her head, Meadows allegedly told the woman that he was going to waterboard her, Bell said.
“He told her she was fixing to find out what it was like to die,” according to Bell.
Meadows also poked her legs and knees with a knife, he said.
The suspect later made the victim get into bed and stood watch over her, but when he fell asleep at about 6 a.m. Dec. 23 she escaped the residence and made her way to her relatives’ home in Athens.
Meadows is being held without bail at the Madison County Jail.