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Man takes son, flees into woods

Courtney Astolfi • May 15, 2014 at 2:30 PM

A Groton Township man allegedly threatened the mother of his 1-year-old son at knifepoint Wednesday morning before grabbing the boy and running off with him into the woods.

The child was returned unharmed a short while later, and his father is now behind bars.

Chance Shelton, 19, of the 4800 block of Harris Road, was charged with aggravated burglary, felony domestic violence and child endangering.

When Shelton was dropped off at the woman’s Hill Road home Wednesday at about 11 a.m., he began pounding on her door, Erie County Deputy Paul DeFazio said.

When the woman didn’t answer, Shelton allegedly slipped in through a basement bedroom window, walked past a man asleep in her bed and marched upstairs.

There, he found the woman holding their son. Shelton allegedly punched her head multiple times then walked to the kitchen, where he grabbed two serrated knives and one butter knife from the drawer, DeFazio said.

The woman ran downstairs with the child, where she and her guest tried to lock the bedroom door. But Shelton was too quick — they held him at bay behind the partially closed door and began negotiating with him, according to a deputy’s report.

Shelton eventually slid two of the knives through the opening, and the pair let up on the door. At that point Shelton pulled out the third knife he’d grabbed and threatened to kill the woman if she didn’t speak with him, DeFazio said.

Again, the pair talked Shelton down and he relinquished the blade. The woman then followed him upstairs, where she let him use a phone charger so he could call his mother, the report said.

As Shelton dialed his mom, the woman dialed police.

But before she could react, Shelton allegedly picked up the child, walked out the front door and disappeared out of sight into the woods, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.

Deputies soon arrived and began speaking with the woman and her guest outside the home. About 15 minutes after Shelton walked out with the child, and while deputies were interviewing the woman, Shelton came strolling up the driveway with his son, DeFazio said.

Sigsworth said Shelton had been speaking to his mother — who has custody of the boy but let the woman have him overnight — after he left the house, and she’d urged him to return the child.

Shelton was cooperative and handed over the boy without incident, Sigsworth said.

He was taken to the Erie County jail and held without bond. Deputies said the case will be presented to a grand jury for possible additional charges.

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