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TV Star Warned Of Rape Suspect Who Threatened To Kidnap Her

September 18, 1993

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) _ Police and the FBI searched for an obsessed rape suspect who allegedly threatened to kidnap TV star Kathie Lee Gifford.

Richard D. Jones, 32, of Shelby made the threat Thursday morning after he bound and raped his 59-year-old aunt and burned her breasts with a lit cigarette, said Capt. Tommy Lytton of the Gaston County Police Department. He then stole about $1,500 and fled in her car, Lytton said.

Jones ″said he was going to kidnap Kathie Lee because she had a lot of money,″ Lytton said.

Police have warned authorities in Connecticut, where Gifford has a home, and in Atlantic City, where she will be tonight as co-host of the Miss America pageant.

″We feel sure he’s flown the coop and is in another state,″ said Gaston County Police Capt. Archie Huffstetler.

Jones told his aunt that he was going to find his ″girlfriend,″ Kathie Lee, police said. The victim at first didn’t understand what he meant, but police found a scrapbook in her house that Jones made with photographs of Gifford.

Gifford appears on the television show ″Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.″

Jones has no criminal record and has worked for a variety of security companies, police said.

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