No kidnapping charges will be filed from incident that led to chase into Spencer County

Major Bill Thompson, DCSO

An Aug. 29 incident that seemed to begin with an abduction of a woman and her child, and included what was described as an attempted abduction at a Daviess County mobile home park, will not result in any kidnapping charges.

Major Bill Thompson, head of investigations for the Daviess County Sheriff's Department, said kidnapping charges were considered against Francis E. Wilkins, 32, of the 5400 block of Red Mile Loop and Robert J. Chilcoate, 39, of Louisville, in the incident, which was first reported at 4:21 p.m. as an attempted kidnapping of a juvenile at Colony Mobile Home Estates on Keenland Parkway. The incident ended with a chase into Spencer County, Indiana.

The initial report was of a man in a white van ordering a juvenile in the mobile home park to get into the van "or he was going to get his gun," reports say. The incident was reported by the juvenile's mother.

Deputies got a lead on Wilkins from the description of the van and called a home on Red Mile Loop. They were told by a relative that Wilkins was driving the van. Reports say the relative contacted Wilkins, who told a deputy he wanted a lawyer and then apparently tried to hang up, but could be heard telling Chilcoate to take him to "Kelly's house," reports say.

On the way to the home of Kelly Quinn, Wilkins' fiancee, deputies spotted a van and tried to stop it, but Chilcoate, who was driving, fled and drove over the William H. Natcher Bridge at Maceo.

On the way over the bridge, deputies saw Wilkins throw two guns into the river, reports say. A loaded gun magazine was located on the bridge.

The van stopped in a cornfield on the Indiana side, and Chilcoate fled into the field. Wilkins was apprehended by deputies, and Chilcoate was apprehended in the same area by law enforcement the next day.

Quinn and her daughter were in the van, along with Wilkins' juvenile son. The day of the incident, Thompson said the intent was to charge Wilkins with kidnapping Quinn and her daughter and with attempting to kidnap the juvenile at Colony Estates.

On Wednesday, Thompson said neither Wilkins or Chilcoate will be charged with kidnapping.

"She (Quinn) recanted and said she had not been forcibly taken," Thompson said. At the time of the incident, reports say Quinn told investigators she felt she had no choice but to go with Wilkins and Chilcoate because they were armed when they first came to her house.

Quinn said Wednesday she felt "compelled" to get into the van when Chilcoate and Wilkins arrived, and "Robert was waving around a gun" as he was speaking. But Quinn said she doesn't know if the gun she saw was real.

Wilkins "did buy BB guns at Walmart for him and his son to play with," Quinn said. "... Robert was saying, 'I'm leaving and going back to Ohio, if you're going to take her, get in the (van) now.' "

Chilcoate was "frantic, like he was ready to leave town, and he wasn't waiting for anything," Quinn said.

Wilkins was also anxious to leave town because he had recently been threatened, Quinn said. Before the incident, Quinn and Wilkins were planning to move with their respective children to Florida, she said.

"I've known Francis for 13 years. I've never seen him do anything like this before," Quinn said.

Quinn said once she was in the van, they never went to Colony Estates. Quinn said she believes Wilkins was at the mobile home park earlier in the day to see a relative, but she doesn't believe he attempted to abduct anyone.

"I don't think Frank did anything like that. Frank is a father himself," Quinn said. "... I guess people at the trailer park had seen vans like that before."

Thompson said the attempted kidnapping statute was reviewed by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office and prosecutors concluded the statute didn't apply.

"The commonwealth looked at attempted unlawful imprisonment, but it didn't meet the criteria, either," Thompson said. The juvenile named in the attempted kidnapping call wasn't actually forced to get into a van, so the only charge that could have applied was attempted unlawful imprisonment, a Class B misdemeanor, which prosecutors didn't pursue, Thompson said.

Chilcoate and Wilkins are both being held in the Spencer County Jail on charges related to the chase. In Daviess County, deputies are preparing to file charges of first-degree fleeing/evading police, first-degree wanton endangerment, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and tampering with physical evidence against both men.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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