LONOKE, Ark. — The man accused of kidnapping 14-year-old Savannah Childress, a Davidson County teen, died in the hospital on Sunday after an officer-involved shooting in Lonoke, Arkansas, according to an Arkansas State Police news release.
Around 8 p.m. on Saturday, two Lonoke officers on patrol duty recognized a Dodge SUV parked at a McDonald’s near Interstate 40.
It appeared to be a vehicle used in connection with the Savannah Childress abduction case.
The officers exited their patrol car and approached the suspect vehicle. The officers could see two people inside the SUV and ordered the driver to get out of the vehicle.
The driver, later identified as William Robert Ice, 38, of Jackson Center, Pennsylvania, complied with the orders. But as he exited, he aimed a gun at one of the officers and began shooting, critically wounding the officer.
The second Lonoke officer, who was uninjured, fired back as Ice re-entered the vehicle and fled.
An Arkansas state trooper already in the area heard police radio communications reporting an officer down and spotted the suspect vehicle leaving the McDonald’s parking lot.
The trooper pursued the vehicle through Lonoke, south along Arkansas Highway 31, and onto Raprich Road before getting stuck in a snowbank.
Savannah fled from the vehicle and was secured by a state trooper.
Inside the SUV, the trooper found Ice critically injured from what preliminarily appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Working with sheriff’s deputies in Davidson County and special agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were able to identify the 14-year-old passenger as Savannah.
Ice, who died at a Little Rock hospital earlier on Sunday, was also wanted by Pennsylvania law enforcement authorities in connection with other child predator cases.
His body has been submitted to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the manner and cause of death.
The wounded Lonoke police officer is reported to be in stable condition at a Little Rock hospital.
The agents will continue to assist other law enforcement agencies in connection with cases that may involve Ice and the abduction of Savannah who will be returned to North Carolina later today.
On Feb. 11, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office began investigating when Savannah was reported missing from her home on Canaan Church Road..
Early on in the investigation, it was discovered that Savannah was using her Davidson County Schools issued computer to communicate with Ice using multiple online platforms.
Investigators discovered the same person was also talking to several other juvenile females in Alamance County.
The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office was able to interview these juveniles and provide beneficial information regarding ice
Investigators were able to determine that Ice had taken Savannah from her home on Feb. 11 and were also able to identify a red Dodge Durango that he was possibly driving.
The DCSO obtained arrest warrants for Ice for first-degree kidnapping and soliciting a child by computer.
Utilizing several law enforcement partners including the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the United States Marshal’s Service and the Pennsylvania State Police, leads were developed to indicate that Ice was in the area of a McDonalds in Lonoke County Arkansas near Interstate 40.
The information was then passed on to law enforcement in that area.
Kandi Bremer, a friend of the Childress family, released the following statement to FOX8:
“We are all very thankful that Savannah has been found. We do ask that everyone please understand that the family needs time for themselves right now. And when they are able to they will do an interview. We would like to continue to thank our community and everyone who shared Savanna’s picture. All the news channels who helped get it out there. The family is so grateful for the outpouring of love, support, and prayers that their daughter has received. Just continue to please pray for them all as they try to overcome and heal from everything that has happened.”