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FBI takes over case of Norwood man, mother charged with crossing state lines with abducted child

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GOUVERNEUR — A Norwood man and his mother were being held Friday in St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility for allegedly kidnapping a 10-year-old girl from Pennsylvania that he claimed was his daughter.

Peter A. Tarbox, 39, and his mother, Annette M. Williams, 55, both of 6 Maple St., Norwood, face charges of kidnapping for ransom, interference with custody of children and endangering the welfare of children.

The two were taken into custody Thursday night after they were found at a gas station in Gouverneur with the girl, Alexandria Jade Long, who was unhurt. She was reunited with her mother, Laura McCabe.

Pennsylvania State Police activated the New York AMBER Alert late Thursday afternoon after investigating a confirmed child abduction that occurred about 4:30 p.m. Thursday on Oak Street in Gordon, Pa. The alert noted the suspect was believed to be heading to Norwood.

The alert stated that Mr. Tarbox was a former acquaintance of the abducted child’s mother from seven years ago and that he was not related to the child.

Butler Township Police Department Chief Edward J. Tarantelli said Mrs. McCabe told investigators that Tarbox was not the girl’s father but that they had previously lived with him.

“We have nothing indicating he is the father,” Chief Tarantelli said. “They have not lived with him for several years.”

The child reconnected with Tarbox through Facebook about two months ago. When Mrs. McCabe discovered they were communicating on the social networking site, she blocked her daughter’s access to Tarbox, Chief Tarantelli said.

According to the criminal complaint, Mrs. McCabe was napping when her husband, John, came home from work about 4 p.m. Thursday. He told police that the child was playing a video game when he arrived. Mr. McCabe told investigators that the child was gone after he came back into the room after taking a shower.

Mr. McCabe told police he looked around the house and through a nearby park for the child before waking his wife and contacting authorities. The last incoming call on the telephone was from a number that Mrs. McCabe recognized as that of Tarbox.

“We believe the phone call he made was to have her come out and meet him,” Chief Tarantelli said.

Mrs. McCabe told police that she called Tarbox and that he admitted having the child with him and had no intention of returning her.

Chief Tarantelli said he had no evidence that the child was mistreated while in the care of her mother.

“This is the first contact we’ve had with this family since they moved into the area,” he said.

Chief Tarantelli applauded the work of Gouverneur police officer Darren J. Fairbanks, who stopped Mr. Tarbox and his mother. The patrolman had an AMBER alert app on his personal cellphone.

“He recognized the suspect was from his locality and he took note of it,” Chief Tarantelli said. “It was a heck of a job.”

Tarbox and Williams were arraigned in Gouverneur Town Court as fugitives from justice from Pennsylvania and ordered held in jail to await extradition.

Chief Tarantelli said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking over the case, which will be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office.

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