The case against a Corbin man, who is accused of attempting to kidnap a three-year-old and then trying to buy the child from its grandparents, will be moving to federal court.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Ronnie L. Helton, 73, on Thursday.
According to the indictment, Helton is accused of using a means, facility, and instrumentality of interstate commerce, specifically at red Pontiac sedan, in the furtherance of the commission of the crime of attempted kidnapping.
Helton faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if found guilty.
Helton is currently being held in the Whitley County Detention Center on state charges of attempted kidnapping, and human trafficking – victim under 18 years of age.
Under Kentucky law, each charge is a class “C” felony carrying a potential prison sentence of five to ten years.
No court date has been set for Helton to appear in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in London.
Corbin Police arrested Helton on April 7 following a complaint by the child’s grandmother, Kristy Baker.
Baker told police that her grandchild was playing on a trailer, when the suspect, later identified as Helton, held the child’s hand while assisting him to walk along the trailer that sloped higher up on the fence where he could be boosted over it.
“Baker reported that when she began to yell at (Helton) he released the child,” Corporal Steve Meadors wrote in the arrest citation noting that the child then ran to her.
Instead of leaving the scene, Baker told police that Helton walked around the fence, down the driveway and into the yard.
The child ran from Baker to her boyfriend, Tony L. Goodwin, who was coming from the back of the house.
“Goodwin reported that the three-year-old clinched his leg and hid behind him,” Meadors stated.
Helton then allegedly offered the couple $1,000 for the child.
“Get the F**k out of here you old pedophile before I kill you!” Goodwin replied according to Meadors noting that Helton then went back across the street to his vehicle and left.
However, Baker gave police the license plate number, along with a description of the vehicle and suspect.
Officers located Helton at an apartment on American Greeting Card Road in north Corbin that was listed on the vehicle registration at approximately 8:30 p.m. and took him into custody.