By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
A mother and her infant son are now safe, thanks in part to the determination of deputies with the Howard County Sheriff’s Department. The officers worked from the time Kristy Redenbaugh was reported missing in September 2012 until the man police allege was her captor was arrested Thursday.
Aaron Massey, 38, was arrested Thursday at a motel in Loxley, Ala., on a Hamilton County warrant for failure to return to lawful detention. Lt. Doug Phillips with Loxley Police said Massey could be facing federal charges in Indiana for kidnapping, rape and unlawful imprisonment.
Massey was listed on the Hamilton County “Top Ten” most wanted list.
Howard County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Greg Hargrove said Kristy Redenbaugh’s mother reported the woman missing last year.
Since then, Hargrove said, Redenbaugh would periodically send her mother and friends Facebook messages. Recently, she had been silent for several weeks.
A break came when a maid found a prepaid cellphone in a motel room in Loxley and turned it over to police, Hargrove said.
“We couldn’t trace where the calls or Facebook messages were made,” Hargrove said. “There were disturbing images on the phone.”
On Wednesday, Redenbaugh contacted a friend for help. The friend contacted Redenbaugh’s mother who notified HCSD Detective Scott Waymire.
Waymire received was notified early Thursday that Redenbaugh was on Facebook and he started to monitor the conversation, Hargrove said.
Hargrove said police were communicating with Redenbaugh while law enforcement officers in Loxley were en route to the motel. Redenbaugh was told go into the bathroom with her toddler son while Loxley police entered the motel room and arrested Massey, he said. Redenbaugh and her son were not injured.
Hargrove said the department doggedly worked with the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s office. Waymire sent missing person fliers to wherever Massey was believed to be. Fliers were distributed in Alabama and Arkansas.
He said the license plates had expired on the car Massey was driving when he disappeared, making it difficult for him to leave the Loxley area.
“There are a lot of questions we want clarified,” Hargrove said. “We need to talk to her. We don’t know if she was taken from Hamilton or Howard county.”
Massey and Redenbaugh reportedly had a relationship and the woman might have voluntarily accompanied Massey at first.
Sheriff Steve Rogers said he was proud of the work done by the department.
“People think in a missing persons case we go at it hard for a little bit and it then becomes someone else’s problem,” he said. “Detective Waymire stayed on the case. He worked with the FBI to develop evidence from other states.”
Loxley Police did an outstanding job also, Rogers said.
“Our department went above and beyond what was expected,” he said.
Massey was charged in 2006 in Hamilton County with rape, criminal deviate conduct, criminal confinement while armed, sexual battery and burglary for holding a woman hostage.
He was convicted and sentenced to serve time in the Indiana Department of Corrections, and was released on probation with the Hamilton County Work Release program.
Massey failed to return to the work release center on May 12, 2012.
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