Man arrested after kidnapping two boys, slashing throat of one, in Hancock County

By Gareth Clary |

Mississippi Press

11940577-smallHANCOCK COUNTY, Mississippi — James Smith, 41, of the Leetown community, has been arrested after a more than  2-hour pursuit after he kidnapped and assaulted two young boys, including slashing the throat of the 8-year-old, according to Hancock County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Don Bass.

Smith is charged with attempted murder, sexual assault and kidnapping. Bass said more charges would be filed as the investigation continues.

According to Bass, Smith abducted the 8-year-old and a  5-year-old from a residence in Picayune and took them to a residence off Mitchell Road in north Hancock County.

After the 8-year-old had his neck cut, he was able to escape and Bass said he ran about  500 yards to a neighbor’s house for help. Bass said the Smith was “an acquaintance of the boys’ stepmother.”

Bass said the call came in about 5:30 Wednesday evening and when deputies arrived, they spotted Smith in a vehicle and began a pursuit. Smith eventually jumped out of the car and escaped into the woods, leaving the 5-year-old in the vehicle.

“The suspect ran quite a few miles in the woods,” Bass said. “There was a couple of creeks he had to have crossed. He had quite a journey through that wilderness.”

Bass said Smith was apprehended about 8:15 p.m. at a convenience store on Miss. 43 in the Salem community of Pearl River County.

Bass said the 8-year-old boy was taken to a hospital, but he wasn’t sure which one, and had no information on his condition.

“He was coherent at the scene,” Bass said. “He had cuts on his neck and facial area.”