Del. man charged with kidnapping

March 30, 2011 1:50:38 PM PDT
Middletown police have arrested a man in connection with two attempted abductions.

John Damiani, 23, of Smyrna has been charged with 2 counts of Kidnapping in the Second Degree.

Kilah Gunns and Devinn Trimble, both 12, tell Action News they were walking down Cedar Lane near the Frog Hollow Golf Course when they realized they were being followed by a suspicious man Sunday afternoon. They say they tried to elude him. But the man approached them asking directions, then began cursing and snatched Kilah up in his arms.

"He actually grabbed me and picked me up. And I started hitting him in the face and he dropped me. And then we took off screaming," said Gunns.

"We started running and he grabbed her. After that, I turned around to get her and then he dropped her and took off and we ran to the house," said Trimble.

Police were called right away. The attacker ran off through some woods, only to resurface moments later.

As police launched their search for the suspect, they got a second 911 call from a quarter-mile away, at Ashland and Greenland boulevards. A second mother told police her 14-year-old daughter had just been accosted by a man matching the description of the one who had just struck roughly 15 minutes earlier.

The targets were another pair of middle school girls. One of the girls was grabbed around the waist from behind, but she fought him off. The man once again fled and remains at large

The Middletown Police Department received a number of tips and leads indicating Damiani as the potential suspect.

Damiani was arrested early Wednesday morning at his residence. In the course of the search of his home, officers located several items which link Damiani to each of the assaults that occurred in Middletown.

Middletown police are collaborating with New Castle County detectives in regards to several incidents that have occurred within the County's jurisdiction. Damiani is facing Offensive Touching charges through New Castle County's investigation of an incident that occurred in the Heritage Park development.