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Kidnap Victim Returns Home

Crime: The man accused of abducting her waives extradition from Nevada.

August 22, 2002|TINA DIRMANN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

RIVERSIDE — The 68-year-old man accused of snatching 10-year-old Nichole Taylor Timmons from her bedroom Monday night waived extradition from Nevada on Wednesday and is expected to return here by week's end to face a battery of state charges.

Riverside Deputy Dist. Atty. Mike Soccio said suspect Glenn MacArthur Park was "answering questions well and cooperating with the investigation" being conducted by authorities in Reno.

Soccio said he expects to charge Park with first-degree burglary, kidnapping and making terrorist threats based on comments the suspect allegedly made during the ordeal.

The child was reunited with her mother, Sharon Timmons, in Reno late Tuesday, just hours after authorities on the Walker River Indian reservation near Hawthorne, Nev., spotted Park's blue and white 1982 Dodge pickup. Park, who had done gardening for the family and had been a part-time baby-sitter of Nichole, was apprehended and the child was found unharmed.

Mother and daughter returned home to Riverside County with authorities Wednesday evening, where Sharon Timmons thanked authorities at a news conference at the Ontario International Airport. Nichole stood silently by, clutching a pair of stuffed animals.

Timmons said she "did a little happy dance inside" when she learned that Nichole was safe. She also praised the state's Amber Alert system, which quickly passed information on the abduction to authorities throughout the West: "It changed my life, I got my Nichole back."

Timmons had discovered Nichole missing Tuesday about 7 a.m., when she pulled back her daughter's bedcovers and found an empty bed. A back door leading into the girl's bedroom was open and a chain twisted around a backyard gate had been cut, Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach said.

By 11 a.m., authorities had concluded that Timmons had been kidnapped and they issued the Amber Alert.

Police suspicions focused on Park, who didn't turn up that morning for various gardening jobs. Radio and television alerts regularly beeped out a description of the girl, and of Park's truck and its license number.

Walker River Indian Reservation Policeman Ray East, who heard the alert in Nevada, spotted Park's truck about 3 p.m. and arrested him. Nichole Timmons, found in the cab of the truck, told authorities she simply wanted to go home. The girl, still in her Powerpuff Girls pajamas, appeared unharmed, police said.

"It was heartening to see Nichole step off the plane a little while ago along with her mom, back where she belongs," said Chief Leach, who also thanked the FBI and the police agencies that assisted in the arrest.

Jeff Talbott, an assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol, which coordinates the Amber Alert system, called Nichole's recovery "a textbook case" of how things should work.

Police said that Sharon Timmons, a single mother, had apparently grown uncomfortable with Park and terminated all contact with him several weeks ago. Leach speculated that Park was distraught over the termination.

Neighbors said Park seemed unusually close to the girl. He was often seen walking the neighborhood or driving his pickup with Nichole pulled close to him, his arm draped around her shoulders. Her classmates said Park, who some thought was Nichole's father, often brought treats to her school for class parties.

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