24-hour manhunt over for Jacksonville suspect

Jacksonville man accused of holding mother, 4-year-old daughter hostage

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 29-year-old Jacksonville man wanted since a child and her mother were held hostage in a home on Thursday afternoon has been captured.

Detectives say they tracked 29-year-old Richard Lee Johnson Friday night and took him Downtown for questioning.                 

Johnson faces charges of violation of an injunction for protection, false imprisonment and two counts of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, the Sheriff's Office said. Bail will be set at $250,000, according to jail records.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said Johnson forced his way into the home on Payne Avenue with a gun. Bujeda said a day care worker was dropping the girl off at home about 3:30 p.m. when someone inside suspiciously pulled the girl in and closed the door.

That worker was concerned and called police. Officers said the mother, Ronda, who didn't want to give her full name, was inside the home and they could see a man with his hand over the child's mouth.

"He just told her (the daughter) to sit down and be quiet and don't make no noise, and my life was in his hands and he would kill me before he went to prison," Ronda said.

Bujeda said police began establishing a perimeter around the home when the suspect bolted, running out the front door.

Bujeda said the girl was okay, but officers were looking for Johnson, who was considered armed and dangerous.

Bujeda said the suspect and the mother had a prior relationship, and there is a current injunction on the suspect.

"We don't know what his intentions were," Bujeda said. "The day care worker going to the door and dropping the child off might have stopped what his intentions were."

Channel 4 crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said Ronda handled the situation like she should have.

"She did the right thing by just complying at that time with whatever he's telling or asking her to do," Jefferson said. "She did the absolute right thing by just complying. If she could have escaped, she would have tried to, but he obviously held her to a point where she could not escape."

Jefferson also said the daycare worker did the right thing by not getting herself involved in the situation.

"She did the right thing by removing herself from the perceived threat that was happening in the home, and getting away and contacting police, and allowing police to go up and approach because she could have walked into a very volatile situation and easily could have become a victim as well."

Police initially used a helicopter and K9 units to search for the suspect, but did not locate him until Friday night.

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