Houston & Peach

Tennessee kidnapping suspects captured at Georgia gas station off I-75

Dennis Ruland
Dennis Ruland

A suspect described by authorities as armed and dangerous and wanted in another state for a kidnapping was arrested Monday at a Pilot Travel Center off Interstate 75.

Dennis Ruland, 19, was taken into custody after Peach County deputies and Byron police officers surrounded a 2013 Black Ford Escape at a gas station at 2965 Ga. 247-Connector.

A woman with him, Teresea Silva, 19, was also taken into custody. Both were charged with “especially aggravated kidnapping” and misdemeanor marijuana possession, said Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese.

Ruland was also charged with interference with government property after he tried to kick out a window of a Peach County sheriff’s vehicle, Deese said.

At 1:07 p.m., Peach deputies and Byron officers responded to a be-on-the-look-out bulletin for the sports utility vehicle suspected of having been used in the kidnapping of a 1-year-old child and the child’s mother in Springfield, Tennessee.

Ruland and Silva were sitting inside the car when two sheriff’s patrol cars and a Byron police vehicle blocked them in, Deese said.

The two were taken into custody without incident, Deese said. Ruland tried to kick the window out of the sheriff’s vehicle while being taken to the jail.

“Just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Deese said of the arrests.

Sunday, at 4:16 p.m., Springfield, Tennessee, police officers were dispatched to a call of shots fired at a Sonic restaurant on Tom Austin Highway, according to a news release.

Arriving police learned that Ruland had kidnapped his former girlfriend and their child, according to the release from Springfield, Tennessee, police.

Ruland had snatched the child from the mother’s vehicle after firing a .45 caliber semi-automatic weapon, the release said. He managed to get the child into the nearby, waiting Ford Escape where Silva was inside.

The mother, still struggling with Ruland, was struck in the head with the handgun before he and Silva fled with both the mother and the child.

The mother managed to jump out of the car with the child as it slowed down at an intersection about 7 miles away from the restaurant, according to the release.

A witness called 911 after seeing the mother jump from the vehicle at the intersection. The mother and child were transported to the hospital with severe but non-life threatening injuries, the release said.

Prior to the kidnapping, Ruland was wanted by police for aggravated domestic assault, vandalism, theft, domestic assault and criminal trespassing from incidents involving the former girlfriend.

Springfield police described Ruland as armed and dangerous in the news release.

Becky Purser: 478-256-9559, @BecPurser