Originally created 11/26/03

Father, aunt to face charges in baby's abduction



LOUISVILLE, Ga. - Augusta resident Joseph Paul Bradley, 21, and his aunt, Janice Johnson, 44, are facing pending charges of kidnapping Tuesday in the abduction of Mr. Bradley's 9-month-old daughter, authorities said.

Mr. Bradley fled the state with the child Friday in violation of an agreement with the girl's mother, a Louisville resident.

Mr. Bradley and the child were found Tuesday in Idaho. Jefferson County sheriff's investigators and the child's mother planned to travel there today to take custody of the child.

A pending warrant for kidnapping was initially issued Monday for Mr. Bradley for the abduction.

Mr. Bradley's aunt was arrested at her home Monday after interviews with Jefferson County sheriff's investigators and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents. Ms. Johnson was taken to Jefferson County Jail, where she is charged as an accessory to kidnapping, according to the jail.

The arrest was made because Ms. Johnson was attempting to conceal the facts relating to the child's abduction, investigators said.

Law enforcement authorities say the circumstances that led to the abduction began about one month ago when Mr. Bradley and Ms. Johnson contacted the child's mother and asked if the child could accompany them Nov. 21 to Ms. Johnson's family reunion in Portal, Ga.

The mother eventually agreed, with the understanding that her daughter would be picked up Thursday and returned late Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Bradley had maintained no contact with the mother or their child since her birth, investigators said, and the mother has full custody.

She contacted Louisville police Sunday evening when her daughter was not returned on time. Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators and GBI agents became involved Monday after Magistrate Judge Murray Bowman filed charges in the matter.

Investigators traveled to Augusta on Monday to interview Ms. Johnson. During the interview, investigators said Ms. Johnson told investigators she had accompanied her husband and her son to the family reunion in Portal. She said Mr. Bradley and the child left her home Friday with a couple driving a small white Ford sedan.