Arnold indicted for attempted kidnapping, other charges

John B. Arnold, Jr.

Ryan Phillips
SDN Editor

An Oktibbeha County grand jury has indicted a Starkville man on multiple felony charges after a series of attempted kidnappings and jail breaks earlier this year.

The four-count indictment was served on 45-year-old John B. Arnold on Monday, with the real estate developer facing two counts of attempted kidnapping, one count of attempted escape and another count of simple assault on a law enforcement officer.

Arnold is accused of attempted kidnapping after trying to take a six-year-old child from his school against the will of his parents.

According to the indictment, Arnold first went to Starkville Academy on Feb. 16 and approached school officials to inquire as to the whereabouts of the child, saying he wanted to see them despite not being his parent, guardian or legal custodian. He identified himself to school officials as the child’s uncle.

He was informed by school officials that the child was not a student at the school, but instead of leaving, investigators allege he then wandered around the school’s campus.

Arnold then went to Sudduth Elementary and again asked school officials if he could see the child. The indictment says Arnold was then told to leave the school after identifying himself as the child’s uncle, which he is not.

The indictment then states that Arnold had previously informed another individual that he was going to check out the child and spend some time with him. Additionally, court documents show Arnold and the child’s mother had been in a dating relationship, however he had been told by the child’s mother to stay away from her and her family.

As for the second count of attempting kidnapping, Arnold had been released on bail following his initial arrest but went to Henderson Ward Stewart and approached the area of the school where buses load and unload students. This occurred while children were being loaded onto buses.

Court documents say Arnold was approached by a school official and told them he was looking for the aforementioned child. After being told the child was not a student at HWS, Arnold proceeded to walk around to the back of the building.

Another school official approached Arnold, who falsely told them he wanted to inform the child that his mother was going to get him at the school’s carpool.

Arnold's bond on his first attempted kidnapping charge was revoked by Municipal Judge Charles “Marty” Haug after he violated the terms by removing his court-mandated electronic monitor, which subsequently sparked a large citywide manhunt.

Once in custody, Arnold attempted to escape from isolated confinement at the Oktibbeha County Jail twice in less than 24 hours in late February and was later transferred to the high risk section of the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center.

Lt. Brett Watson said corrections officers were frequently checking on Arnold after his initial attempt from the Oktibbeha County Jail's exercise yard, where he assaulted an officer.

The third count on the recent indictment states Arnold approached corrections officer Dustyn Smith near the gate at the jail, overpowered him with a headlock and demanded they open the gate.

Arnold said he “needed to get to that kid” but was stopped by jail personnel.

Bond was set at $10 million each for two separate felony charges stemming from the initial attempt to escape the Oktibbeha County Jail. Bond for the additional charge of attempted kidnapping was set at $10 million.