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KSP investigate kidnapping resulting in death of 5-year-old boy

UPDATE: 4:45pmCT, Mon 11 Sep 2017) - McKee, Ky. (September 11, 2017) - Kentucky State Police have charged Lonnie Belt with murder in the death of James Spoonamore.
5-year olds body found through search by multiple agencies and hundreds of volunteers. The search involved helicopters from KSP and the National Guard, riders on horseback, K-9 units and search by volunteers on foot.
Note: Charges/allegations are not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by law enforcement is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceeding.

From Sherry H. Bray, KSP Headquarters, Public Affairs Branch

McKEE, KY - (Mon - 11 Sep 2017) - Kentucky State Police are investigating the kidnapping and assault of a Jackson County woman and her son. In the morning hours of Saturday, September 9, 2017 around 10:45amET, the Kentucky State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to an injured female found by hikers.

Jessica Durham was located and rescued at the bottom of an 80 foot cliff near Sparks Ridge Road. Jessica was able to describe to troopers how she and her son, James Spoonamore, age 5, were assaulted and kidnapped by Lonnie Belt, age 41 of McKee. Jessica explained how she last saw her son, James, with their kidnapper as she was allegedly forced over the cliff by Belt. Jessica Durham was transported to University of Kentucky Medical Center for serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

A search immediately ensued for James Spoonamore with multiple agencies and hundreds of volunteers. The search involved helicopters from KSP and the National Guard, riders on horseback, K-9 units and search by volunteers on foot.

KSP located Lonnie Belt for questioning at 1:39pmET, and he was later taken into custody at 11:30pmET on September 9th. Belt was lodged at the Jackson County Detention Center and charged with: Assault 1st, Kidnapping-Adult, Kidnapping-Minor and Tampering with Physical Evidence.

The search continued for the young boy in the area of Sparks Ridge Road and Turkey Foot Road until he was found deceased on September 11, 2017, around 9:30amET. The body has been taken to the Medical Examiner's office in Frankfort for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. Investigators are conferring with prosecutors to determine additional charges related to Spoonamore's death, which are forthcoming.

Kentucky State Police were assisted by the Kentucky National Guard, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Jackson County Search and Rescue, Jackson County EMS, U.S. Forest Service, Jackson County Coroner and numerous volunteers.

The investigation is ongoing by Kentucky State Police Post 7 Detectives. Updates will be released as they become available.

This story was posted on 2017-09-11 16:34:55
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