Bond denied for grandfather charged with attempted kidnapping

jkovac@macon.comOctober 29, 2013 

The Macon grandfather charged with attempted kidnapping at a north Macon elementary school last week was ordered Tuesday to be held without bond until he can be examined by doctors.

In ruling that Maduabuchi Christian Ogoh, believed to be in his late 60s, remain in jail, Bibb County Superior Court Judge Howard Simms cited Ogoh’s “spectacularly irrational” behavior.

On Oct. 23, Ogoh, who is from Nigeria and has since June lived with his son’s family near Springdale Elementary School on Northside Drive, had gone to pick up his grandkids and walk them home.

According to a Bibb campus police report, Ogoh grabbed a 13-year-old girl by her arm and forced her to sit beside him. He “began talking to her and he then rubbed her face and placed his hands in her hair,” the report stated. “It was said that he was talking to her about Moses.”

The report goes on to note that Ogoh was thought to have “grabbed two kids, with one of them being his grandchild.”

Police were called and Ogoh was charged with attempted kidnapping, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of simple battery.

Ogoh doesn’t speak much English, and the language barrier has hampered some parts of the investigation.

District Attorney David Cooke said he agreed to Tuesday’s hearing to expedite a medical evaluation of Ogoh. He opposed bond until doctors examine Ogoh.

Cooke said Ogoh had, in speaking to a woman at the school the day of the incident, declared the woman “to be his wife.”

The DA said Ogoh then grabbed the 13-year-old girl, shoved her into a chair next to him and “held onto her tight so she could not leave, and began having a conversation with her. The conversation can best be described as bizarre. It was in English, although broken English, and during the course of that conversation he began to caress her face and hair with his hand.”

Cooke said someone who saw the encounter said it appeared Ogoh was “acting like a pedophile the way he was touching that girl.”

The teen, who has since suffered nightmares, got away from Ogoh, and then Ogoh went to the school door and blocked it so children couldn’t leave, Cooke said.

“When one of the children began to escape, he grabbed that child (a 7-year-old boy) by the backpack and the child started screaming, ‘I don’t know you, I don’t know this man, help me.’ ... Parents and a teacher had to come wrestle the child away,” Cooke said.

Police were called, Ogoh was subdued and taken to jail.

Whether the episode was a cultural misunderstanding, a criminal act or possibly both won’t be decided until doctors examine Ogoh.

Simms said enough isn’t known about Ogoh’s mental condition to consider bond.

“It sounds to me like there are some serious issues that need to be addressed for the public safety and for his own safety,” the judge said.

Before the hearing, the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Ogoh swiveled in his chair and gazed at relatives and supporters on hand from the area’s Nigerian community. He appeared to sob and wail at one point.

During the hearing, Ogoh looked lethargic, leaning his head back.

His movements at times resembled those of someone about to fall asleep.

When he tried to sip water, he couldn’t swallow.

His attorney, Keith Fitzgerald of Macon, said Ogoh was “very frail.”

“He’s having problems, maybe mental issues, that go along with advanced age,” Fitzgerald said.

After the hearing, some of Ogoh’s supporters, doctors among them, said he needed to be taken to a hospital immediately.

One man said Ogoh hadn’t eaten in days and may be suffering the effects of dehydration.

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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