Ronnie Lou Helton, 73, of Corbin, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court in London Friday. The indictment says Helton attempted "to kidnap, abduct, seize, confine, and carry away another person" for the purpose of assault using a means of interstate commerce, a red Pontiac sedan.
Helton must appear in person in federal court at 2 p.m. Monday, May 24, for arraignment.
Helton was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping of a minor and promoting human trafficking of a victim under 18 years of age after the Corbin Police Department were called to a residence on Gordon Hill Pike on the evening of April 7.
Kristy Baker, the child’s grandmother, reported to police that a male subject, later identified as Helton, walked over to where he 3-year-old grandchild was playing on a trailer and began attempting to assist him to the other side of the fence by holding his hand and leading him to where the trailer sloped higher up on the fence.
Baker told police that when she began to yell at the subject, he released the child who then ran to her.
According to the arrest citation, Helton walked into the family’s yard as the child ran from Baker to her boyfriend, Tony Goodwin, who was coming from around the back of the house.
“Goodwin reported that the 3-year-old clinched his leg and hid behind him,” the arrest citation read. Goodwin then reported that Helton offered $1,000 for the child.
After Goodwin yelled for the man to leave, Helton went back across the road to where his vehicle was parked and left, according to the arrest citation.
Baker was able to give police a license plate number along with a description of the vehicle and suspect, who was later located at an apartment on American Greeting Card Road where he was arrested.
Helton is currently in Whitley County Detention Center where he is facing state charges of attempted kidnapping and human trafficking with a victim under the age of 18.
On the federal charge, Helton faces up to 20 years of imprisonment, up to $250,000 in fines and up to three years of supervised release.
Staff Writer Emily Adams-Bentley contributed to this report.