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Mother Arrested as Accomplice

Ginger Nell Cobb is accused of helping her son, held in a kidnap and rape case, hide.

September 20, 2006|From the Associated Press

CAMDEN, S.C. — The mother of a man accused of abducting and assaulting a 14-year-old girl who eventually was able to send a text message for help was charged Tuesday with helping her son elude authorities and survive in underground bunkers, a sheriff said.

The man, Vinson Filyaw, 36, was charged with kidnapping and raping a 14-year-old girl and holding her in an underground bunker. She was rescued Saturday.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Steve McCaskill said Filyaw's mother, 55-year-old Ginger Nell Cobb, was arrested after police learned she was working with Filyaw's common-law wife to provide him food, water and other supplies.

Filyaw's common-law wife, Cynthia Hall, was arrested last week.

Police had been looking for Filyaw since November, when an arrest warrant was issued in the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl. But he used an elaborate system of bunkers in the woods near his home to elude authorities and survived on supplies he received from the two women, the sheriff said.

Cobb would bring the items to Hall, who would then leave them for Filyaw to retrieve from an abandoned vehicle near his bunkers, McCaskill said.

"He would come out of the woods and get it ... at night or whenever," the sheriff said.

Cobb would not answer questions as she was taken from the sheriff's office Tuesday. She was jailed and a bond hearing was scheduled for today.

Filyaw was captured early Sunday and was being held at the county jail without bond. He also faces charges of possession of an incendiary device and impersonating an officer.

Police say Filyaw, wearing a shirt with the image of a sheriff's badge on it, abducted the girl as she walked home from a school bus stop Sept. 6. The teen was found 10 days later in a booby-trapped hole about 8 feet deep carved out of the side of a hill.

Authorities said the girl sent a text message to her mother on her captor's cellphone as he slept: "Hi mom," it read. "I'm in a hole across from Charm Hill where the big trucks go in and out. There's a bomb. Call police."

According to an incident report released Tuesday in the suspected November assault on a 12-year-old girl, Filyaw woke the girl, who was sleeping in the same bed as her mother, and threatened to hurt the mother if she said anything. He then took the girl to another room and sexually assaulted her, the report said.

The girl said she told her mother about the incidents, but nothing happened, according to the report. Authorities were alerted when the girl told a school guidance counselor.

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