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New Details About The The Man Who Kidnapped 4-Year-Old Heidi Todd After Attacking Her Mother In Her Home

Photo: Charleston County Sheriff's Office
New Details About The Man Who Kidnapped Heidi Todd
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He has a lengthy criminal record.

The man who allegedly abducted a 4-year-old after brutally beating her mother was arrested Wednesday.

The South Carolina toddler, Heidi Todd, was found in a stolen car deep in the woods of Mississippi. Thomas Lawton Evans, 37, was asleep in the vehicle when police came to Heidi’s rescue.

"What could have been a day of great tragedy has really been a day of joy," Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said.

Oliver said that a local Mississippi railroad crew called him when they saw a car with an Illinois license plate parked in the woods off Interstate 20 Wednesday afternoon, according to WSOCTV.

Mugshot, Charleston County Sheriff's Office

"This was the first time seeing a small child in a vehicle like that" near the tracks, said Mark Burk, one of the railroad employees, to The Post and Courier. "I wouldn't want it on my conscience if I didn't call for help."

The girl, who went missing from her home on Johns Island, South Carolina, was unharmed.

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"She was coloring and eating snacks and drinking chocolate milk. We're just tickled to death she is OK," Riverside Police Chief Rick Oliver said. "Once we got her here and watching some cartoons, she was good."

Once Evans safely handed Heidi over to Oliver he tried to flee.                                                    

“He handed her off and then ran toward the car, cranked it and started away,” Oliver told The Island Packet.

The Meridian Star reported that Evans was arrested after a high-speed chase. He reached speeds of nearly 100 mph and attempted to run after he came to a dead end.

Evans is charged with kidnapping and prosecutor Scarlett Wilson plans to file more, a report by Island Packet said.

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Police say Evans targeted Heidi and her mother, Brittany Todd, at random. "To be crystal clear: There is no connection between the victims in this matter and the alleged defendant," Wilson said. "They were randomly targeted."

This is not Evans’ first run-in with the law. The Island Packet reported that he has criminal charges that go back to 1999.

He spent time in prison for strong-armed robbery in 2003 and was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for another armed robbery, second-degree robbery, and drug possession in 2009.

He wasn’t a star inmate, the outlet said. He had 14 disciplinary actions while behind bars.

During his prison sentence, he threatened employees, held a hostage, had a weapon, was found with drugs, and more.

After serving 85 percent of his sentence, he was released on Feb. 1 on “community supervision.” His probation terms said he was supposed to remain in Spartanburg County. He didn’t wait long to commit another violent crime. Heidi’s mother suffered multiple injuries when he allegedly attacked her in her home.

“The attacker pushed her to the ground. The attacker then physically assaulted (the woman) causing facial fractures and brain bleeding, among other significant injuries,” FBI Special Agent Matt Rhue wrote in an affidavit.

A motive has not yet been determined.

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