Marine charged with kidnapping for taking underage girlfriend, her infant to N.C.

Jeff Bobo • Jan 3, 2020 at 2:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — A Marine who took his pregnant underage girlfriend and the girl's 18-month-old daughter to North Carolina without her mother's consent was charged last week in Hawkins County with two counts of kidnapping.

Timothy Blake Rankin, 21, of Whitwell, Tennessee, is stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

On Christmas Day around 1:30 p.m., Rankin left with his girlfriend and her small child from the girlfriend’s home in Rogersville to visit his family in Bristol.

According to a report filed by Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stephanie Bolegnese, the girlfriend had been told by her mother to return home that evening, and when she didn't the mother called Rankin's cell phone.

“Timothy told (the mother) they had not returned because his grandmother was in the hospital,” Bolegnese said. “The next day when contacting Timothy and (the girlfriend) asking when they would return, they told (the mother) they were about three miles away, but didn't return. Timothy was giving (the mother) different locations about where he lived, and about where he and (the girlfriend) were.”

The mother then contacted the HCSO.

Bolegnese called Rankin and asked when he would be returning with the girlfriend.

“Timothy claimed he was in the military and he was returning to base, that he couldn't bring her back,” Bolgenese said. “I asked him the address that (the girlfriend) was at so she could be returned home, and he refused to give one, and continued to claim that he was not with her. Timothy kept muting the phone while talking with me. Timothy then told me, 'This is how it's gonna be, how it goes'.”

Bolegnese added, “Timothy stated he was still not bringing her home that evening.”

On the morning of Dec. 28, Hawkins County Central Dispatch was notified by Jacksonville, North Carolina, police that Rankin had been located at a local McDonald's there with the girlfriend and her small child.

The three were returned to Rogersville where Rankin was charged with two counts of kidnapping, a Class C felony punishable by 3-6 years if convicted.

He was arraigned Monday in Sessions Court and released from the Hawkins County Jail on $2,000 bond.

Rankin is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Sessions Court on Jan. 27.

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