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Suspect in kidnapping of his mom, 80, arrested in California

August 16, 2019
Former Mineral County Sheriff Stewart Handte, 59, is pictured in this Aug. 8, 2019 booking photo provided by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office after he was arrested as a suspected accomplice in the kidnapping of an 80-year-old woman by her son at a senior care facility in Reno, Nevada. He's accused of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Police are still searching for the prime suspect, Roger Hillygus, 52, and his mother, Sue Hillygus. (Washoe County Sheriff's Office via AP
Former Mineral County Sheriff Stewart Handte, 59, is pictured in this Aug. 8, 2019 booking photo provided by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office after he was arrested as a suspected accomplice in the kidnapping of an 80-year-old woman by her son at a senior care facility in Reno, Nevada. He's accused of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Police are still searching for the prime suspect, Roger Hillygus, 52, and his mother, Sue Hillygus. (Washoe County Sheriff's Office via AP

BELLFLOWER, Calif. (AP) — A man suspected of kidnapping his 80-year-old mother from a nursing home in Reno, Nevada was arrested early Friday after a standoff in a Los Angeles suburb, authorities said.

Roger Hillygus, 52, was taken into custody by SWAT officers around 2 a.m. at an apartment complex in the community of Bellflower, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. His mother, Sue Hillygus, who has dementia, was not hurt, officials said.

Reno police said the woman was taken from the home last week by her son, although he isn’t her guardian.

Los Angeles County deputies Thursday night tracked them to the Bellflower apartment and a barricade situation ensued.

Another man was arrested this week on suspicion of helping kidnap the woman, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. He was identified as Stewart Handte, 59 a former sheriff of rural Mineral County, Nevada.

Handte was booked into the Washoe County Jail Wednesday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping of an elderly victim.

Handte entered the care home Aug. 8 with Roger Hillygus, provided false information to staff and assisted in unlawfully removing the victim, investigators said.

It was not immediately known Friday if either man has a lawyer.

Handte told police he had met Hillygus a few months ago and recently learned that Hillygus had lost a court battle with his sister over guardianship of his mother, KOLO-TV in Reno reported.

Roger Hillygus has been in a long-running legal dispute with other family members surrounding the care of his parents and the administration of the family trust, according to U.S. District Court records in Reno. His father, Eugene Hillygus, died in 2015.

Roger Hillygus has filed lawsuits naming as defendants multiple Washoe County district court judges, county commissioners, Reno City council members, the county sheriff and then-Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

All of those lawsuits were dismissed.

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