U.S. Attorney for West Tennessee Michael Dunavant says 34-year-old Jeremy Fitzgerald and 29-year-old Turliscea Turner, both of Memphis, have been federally charged with kidnapping a two-year-old boy whom they later abandoned at a Goodwill in Southaven, Mississippi.
According to information presented in the complaint, Fitzgerald offered to have Turner, posing as his sister, babysit the child while he and the child’s mother went to Nashville overnight on December 13. Turner agreed to watch and keep the child with her overnight. While Fitzgerald and the child’s mother were in Nashville, he demanded she work for him as a prostitute. When she refused, he left her in Nashville.
Fitzgerald later spoke to the child’s aunt and demanded money for the return of the child.
The next morning, Fitzgerald, Turner, and an unknown subject drove and transported the child across a state boundary from Memphis to Southaven, Mississippi.
When they stopped at a gas station, Fitzgerald took the child out of the car to a nearby Goodwill store and abandoned him there. Turner went into the gas station; knowing the child had been left at the Goodwill store.
Southaven Task Force Officers recovered surveillance video showing the maroon vehicle that Fitzgerald and Turner had driven to Southaven with the child. The suspect vehicle was observed on Germantown Parkway in Shelby County on the afternoon of December 14.
When law enforcement responded to the area, Fitzgerald crashed the vehicle, and was later transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. Deputies found Turner inside a nearby Kroger, wearing the same clothing as in the surveillance video. Both subjects were taken into custody without further incident.
If convicted, the defendants each face a possible sentence of 20 years and up to life in federal prison, 5 years to life of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal system.
The case will be presented to a federal grand jury at a later date to consider an indictment against the defendants, where additional federal charges may be added.