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Kidnapper caught in Opp

A North Carolina babysitter who allegedly kidnapped her 9-month-old charge was arrested Thursday in Opp on charges of kidnapping a minor and being a fugitive from justice.

How the sitter, identified as 17-year-old Renesha Shante Griner, and the baby made their way to Opp is a strange story.

Media in the Hoke County, N.C., area reported that last Saturday, the child’s mother needed to go out of town for the weekend and agreed to let Griner keep the baby. When the mother returned, Griner and the child were gone.

A tip from Griner’s family pointed law enforcement to the pair’s whereabouts and suggested that Griner was using the infant as “bait” to resume a relationship with her ex-boyfriend — an Opp resident. Griner had allegedly been “stringing the boyfriend and his family on” for more than a year — claiming the baby was his and sending them baby pictures of the child.

Reports say the boyfriend’s family accepted Griner and the baby into their family and was making financial arrangements for them to relocate to Alabama.

North Carolina law enforcement, along with members of the Opp Police Department, found both Griner and the baby in Opp.

Opp Chief Nickey Carnley said his department was informed about the kidnapping around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Officers were given flyers from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“Around 4:30 p.m. Thursday I received a call from a Capt. Kivett, who is over their detectives, of a possible name on the ex-boyfriend,” Carnley said. “I then put Capt. Kivett in contact with our investigators, who acted on the information.”

Carnley said Griner was located in the Carver Court area at the ex-boyfriend’s residence.

“However, the baby was with the lady who believed (the child) was her grandchild,” he said. “She was asked to come and bring the baby to the police department. Of course you can imagine the shock once they were informed of the true facts.”

Carnley said that both the ex-boyfriend and his mother were very cooperative in the matter.

“She even traveled with (Lt. Mark Kyser and Inv. Walter Inabinett) to meet with Hoke County sheriff’s deputies and the child’s real mother and grandmother,” he said. “The baby was transported in a child safety carrier she provided.”

Carnley said the group met at a rest stop on I-95 for the transfer.

A North Carolina media organization reported that when the ex-boyfriend heard the news, he began crying.

Griner was charged with kidnapping because North Carolina authorities believe she never had any intentions of returning home with the child.

She is currently being held in the Covington County Jail without bond and is awaiting extradition back to Hoke County.