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Textile Worker Charged In Abduction May Have Helped With Search: Police

December 31, 1985

STAPLETON, Ga. (AP) _ A textile worker was charged Tuesday with two counts of kidnapping and one count of rape and aggravated sodomy in the case of two 12-year-old girls who said they were abducted while riding their bicycles and held captive for a week.

Buford Williams Jr., in his early 20s, was arrested late Monday when he ended his shift at a textile plant, said Jefferson County Sheriff Zollie Compton. He was being held without bond pending an arraignment.

Williams may have participated in the effort to find the girls, who said they had been sexually assaulted and held captive - sometimes locked in a closet - after they were abducted Dec. 22 while riding their bicycles, Compton said.

A woman provided food for the volunteers ″told me he (Williams) was hanging out there all the time, so she told him to take out some trash a time or two,″ Compton said.

Jessica Barrow and Elizabeth Tanner first said they had been abducted by two men wearing ski masks who were driving a white pickup truck, but Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents said Tuesday they later changed the account.

GBI Director Robbie Hamrick said only one abductor was involved and that the man did not wear a mask. GBI agents confiscated a pickup truck when they arrested Williams, but Compton said it did not match the girls’ initial description.

The girls may have given false details ″to throw us off the track. They were scared to death,″ Compton said.

″They were threatened,″ said GBI agent Glynn Meeks. ″If you were scared, you’d be lying, too.″

The girls, blindfolded each time, were moved at least three times during the week, Compton said. At one point, the man used wire to tie them up in a closet, he said.

Compton said the abduction probably wasn’t planned, but ″happened on a minute’s notice.″

Hundreds of volunteers scoured 400 square miles in east Georgia looking for the girls, but the search was called off Sunday night.

Early Monday, the girls ran into the Barrow house shouting, ″We’re home, we’re home.″

Jessica’s mother, Mary Barrow, said it was ″fantastic″ to have her daughter home.

″I just feel we can celebrate Christmas now,″ she said. ″There are flowers on the table, stuffed animals are out, and all the things we didn’t get to do at Christmas we’re doing now.″

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