Two men lurked near a playground in Valdosta, Georgia. They had eyes for only one child, a five-year-old girl. Then they struck. They dashed into the play area and pushed down the teacher who tried to confront them. Then one man snatched up the little girl, who was screaming and kicking. The men’s names were Michael McCormick and David Stapp, and the kidnapping victim was McCormick’s five-year-old daughter.
The two abductors traveled from Mississippi to Valdosta to steal McCormick’s daughter in what friends are claiming could be only a custody dispute gone horribly, horribly wrong.
That’s what McCormick’s friend, Adam Malson, is telling the reporters. When he heard about how his long-time friend snatched up the little girl and caused bodily harm to the teacher protecting her, he knew that there was trouble in the McCormick household.
“He is a loving father, and he came to get his daughter. The custody battle I’m sure is going to ensue,” Malson said.
Malson admitted that things had gotten quite troublesome between McCormick and the mother of the girl. They were fighting and not getting along. The love they once had died and was replaced with nagging and bickering. And when the mother of the girl moved from Mississippi to Valdosta, McCormick snapped and recruited his friend, David Stapp, to kidnap his daughter and take her back.
Authorities are aware of the family issues in the case. Lowndes County Sheriff’s Officer told WCTV that McCormick and the mother of his daughter have a documented history of not getting along. Nevertheless, McCormick committed a crime when he forced a teacher to the ground and grabbed his daughter, kidnapping her from the school playground.
“The teacher, seeing what was taking place, rushed to intervene and was pushed down as the pair took the child and left the school grounds,” the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office said in a published statement.
Lt. Stryde Jones from the Lowndes Sheriff’s Office said: “That’s one of the issues we’re looking at with this being a custody issue. But anytime you go onto school grounds and take a child without going through the proper process, it’s certainly going to raise flags and create an alarm, which it did in this case.”
Malson understands that his long-time friend is frustrated, but he is on the side of the law. He hopes that the matter will see its day in court, and McCormick will get an opportunity to see his daughter again. In the meantime, Malson believes that McCormick and Stapp should be allowed to post-jail and roam the Mississippi streets again. But given how he kidnapped his daughter, police and law enforcement officers are not certain he won’t just try to do it again.
“The court will obviously decide all this,” Malson said. “We just want Mike and Stapp to get out of jail. Just a bond hearing. That’s all we want.”
Do you think McCormick and Stapp deserve to walk free after this kidnapping case? Or should they remain behind bars until the court can decide what to do with them?