Convicted felon arrested after kidnapping Kenton Co. woman - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Convicted felon arrested after kidnapping Kenton Co. woman

Jerry Smith (Source: WLEX) Jerry Smith (Source: WLEX)
Jerry Smith (Source: Ohio Department of Corrections) Jerry Smith (Source: Ohio Department of Corrections)
Jerry Smith (Source: Scott County Detention Center) Jerry Smith (Source: Scott County Detention Center)

INDEPENDENCE, KY (FOX19) - A woman abducted from a Kenton County gas station by a convicted felon was able to escape after a 50 mile car ride.

The woman was getting gas at the Speedway Station on Madison Pike around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night when she was approached by Jerry Smith, 34. The woman says Smith held a knife to her throat and demanded she drive to Hazard, Kentucky.

They drove southbound on I-75 and she convinced the suspect she needed to pull off at the rest area in Georgetown, Ky. She then jumped out of the car and fled, as did Smith.

Georgetown Police found Smith at about 1:22 a.m. hiding in the restroom of the northbound rest area.

Smith is charged with kidnapping, terroristic threatening, wanton endangerment and alcohol intoxication. He is being held at the Scott County Detention Center. The woman was not hurt.

Smith was released from the Mansfield Correctional Institution on December 10th after serving a 10-year sentence for rape, gross sexual imposition, kidnapping and robbery in Lawrence County.

As a condition of his release, he was referred to the Southern Ohio Rehabilitation Treatment Services Facility (SORTS), a halfway house in Over the Rhine. SORTS, which was once called Pogue Rehabilitation Center, is managed by Volunteers of America. They say Smith was released Thursday morning on "approved external activity" and was supposed to return at Noon, but never did.

Halfway houses are meant to get inmates re-integrated into society so they don't fall through the cracks. During the daytime, the residents of the halfway houses are supposed to use the time to find work.

As stated earlier, SORTS was formally called the Pogue Center. If that name sounds familiar, that is because it is the same halfway house that now-convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland walked away from in 2009 and killed 13-year-old Esme Kenney. Officials later found out that he had killed three others. Kenney has been sentenced to death.

During the Kirkland case, the State of Ohio stepped in and made dozens of procedural changes to daily operations of the Pogue Center, including changing its name.

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