Originally created 07/10/02

Man charged with kidnapping



A Grovetown man is in the Columbia County Detention Center, charged with kidnapping a 13-year-old Michigan girl.

FBI agents, Grovetown Public Safety officers and sheriff's investigators converged on Antonio Mendoza's mobile home in the 200 block of Fifth Avenue just after 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Augusta FBI Agent Ed Reinhold said agents in Detroit called Monday night to say that the girl had been kidnapped less than a week ago from the Detroit area and that she was believed to be in Grovetown. He would not identify the victim.

"They believed she was in the company of Mendoza," he said. "We were authorized to arrest based on the information we got from Detroit."

Agent Reinhold said officers found Mr. Mendoza, 21, inside the trailer with the girl and took him into custody without incident.

Other than saying Mr. Mendoza lived in the trailer, Agent Reinhold couldn't provide any additional information.

A spokeswoman for the Detroit FBI office was unaware of the arrest and couldn't provide information on the girl or the incident.

Armando Gonzalez, who was visiting Mr. Mendoza, was interviewed by officers but was allowed to stay at the residence.

"(The officers) came in with their guns out and were yelling," Mr. Gonzalez said in Spanish. "I don't know what they wanted."

Agent Reinhold said the girl was taken to the Department of Family and Children Services in Columbia County and would be kept there until family members or Detroit agents could pick her up.

A DFCS spokeswoman said the girl was there for a few minutes before she was taken away by an FBI agent.

Reach Louie Villalobos at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 109, or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.