NEW ALBANY — A New Albany man was expected to appear in court Friday for an initial hearing into accusations he kidnapped a child younger than 14 last week from the convenience store where he worked.
Murphy Le Garza Edwards, 22, is charged with a level 5 felony for kidnapping and a level 6 felony for failure to register as a sex offender. He was arrested Tuesday in New Albany.
On June 5, police responded to a report that a man had taken a child into the woods near the store, court records show. When police arrived, they spoke with a family member of the victim who said they became worried when the child hadn’t returned home within a few minutes. At the same time, the family member got a call that the child had been located on a nearby street.
In talking with the family member and person who found the child, police learned that the child had told them that while at the store, a man police have identified as Edwards, had offered the child a dollar but said he didn’t have it on him and that the child should follow him. The child followed him down an alley where police say Edwards then offered $100 to go further, then took the child into a nearby wooded area. The child ran and was found nearby by a passerby.
Investigators spoke with the store owner who confirmed Edwards was an employee there, and surveillance corroborated the child’s account that the two had spoken there and left down an adjacent alley.
Further investigation showed that Edwards had a warrant out of Marion County for failing to register as a sex offender for a 2017 child molestation conviction. In an interview with police, Edwards confirmed he worked at the store and lived nearby. He was not registered as a sex offender in Floyd County.
This case remains under investigation.