The press release issued by Philadelphia Police on Thursday morning was a sigh of relief at the end of a tireless three-day effort that galvanized a city with the hope that a 22-year-old woman violently abducted from a Germantown street would return home safely.
Its subject line read: “Suspect Delvin Barnes Arrested for the Abduction of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither.”
The 37-year-old suspect with a violent past was arrested in the town of Jessup, Md. on Wednesday and “Carlesha was located in good condition and has been reunited with her family,” it read.
Investigators — from both law-enforcement and media arenas — continue piecing together what led to Sunday night’s violent abduction that was captured on surveillance video on the 100 block of W. Coulter St.
If the early indications hold merit, Carlesha is lucky to be alive.
An October kidnapping
According to a report from WIRC in Richmond, Va., Barnes “was wanted for abducting a 16-year-old Richmond girl before his arrest Wednesday.” In that Oct. 1 case, the teen “was allegedly picked up off the street and stuffed in the trunk of a car.”
“The victim reported Barnes was digging a grave and asked her how she wanted to die,” according to the report. “She ran away and managed to make it to a neighboring business. Employees there found her naked and covered in bleach and gas.”
With DNA evidence reportedly enabling police to issue a warrant five days before Carlesha’s abduction, law-enforcement officials in both jurisdictions linked the cases because, in part, of the vehicle involved.
These details emerged after an emotional Wednesday night press conference during which Carlesha’s family, local investigators and the media gathered at the 35th District police station to celebrate the good news.
The 2005 case against Barnes
According to NewsWorks content partner NBC10, Barnes was found guilty of aggravated assault, criminal trespass and, among other charges, false imprisonment, in a 2005 case involving his estranged wife.
The woman had a protective order against Barnes due to past abuse, according to the report, but “as she was going to bed around 10:15 p.m., Barnes jumped out of her bedroom closet and tried to talk to her.”
“As she went to call 911, Barnes jumped on top of her, grabbed her face and began digging his nails into her skin, court records say,” according to the report. “He allegedly hit her in the face, choked her and threatened to kill her.
“Barnes then allegedly told her he’d only stop beating her if she took off her clothes. The woman told police she removed her clothes, fearing for her life. She accused Barnes of forcing her to have sex with him three separate times throughout the night, and she told police Barnes forced her to give him oral sex and threatened her with several objects.”
Barnes’ uncle Lamar told NBC10, “Some men grew up having problems with women, so they take it out on women. Apparently, he’s one of them.”