FINALIZED REPORT – By Bill Collier
The basic outlines of the stunning escape, kidnapping of a local woman and her child, and recapture of a burglary suspect are starting to emerge more clearly.
On March 1, a Friday afternoon, we do not know exactly when, Billie Jo Ribble was arrested by State Police at the Walmart in Mansfield.
She was apprehended initially in the Walmart parking lot after tips to State Police allowed them to find her there..
She ended up, according to numerous reports, at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro, where, according to reports, she was taken because she was allegedly pregnant.
Not known is whether she was taken to the County jail first and then taken to the hospital, but while there she was under guard. She was not in State Police custody and we have assumed she was under the custody of Corrections Officers, although they are not normally armed.
She was not shackled, which is policy regarding pregnant prisoners, and allegedly, according to reports to us, she did not have handcuffs on.
While there, she succeeded in escaping from her guard and fled into Wellsboro.
After escaping she was loose for a number of hours, see article in print for more on this.
Ribble forced the woman to drive across state lines which now makes this a Federal crime..
The meat of the story is, that a woman was kidnapped with her child and forced to drive to a point north of Wellsboro on Route 15 near Corning, but not quite at Corning, where Ribble, allegedly, then got out and was eventually caught in Corning “early the next morning.”
This story is NOT about the woman and her child who were kidnapped. This story is about the alleged criminal.
Our prayers and the prayers of the whole community go up for this woman and her child and everyone affected by this crime.