An Ohio man was charged with abducting a child as part of a bizarre landlord-tenant dispute.
Tracy Stewart said the lease was set to expire Jan. 31 on the Fairfield Township home she rented from Joseph Ebbing and his wife, who lived next door, reported WLWT-TV.
Stewart said she needed a little more time before moving due to unspecified health issues, but she said Ebbing began harassing her as the expiration date approached.
She called 911 late Saturday, as the lease was set to expire, to report that her landlord had threatened to physically remove her, and she called again about 1 a.m. Sunday to say Ebbing was on his way.
Police arrested Ebbing and charged him with criminal trespassing because he had not gone through the proper eviction process.
But Ebbing returned to the home owned by his wife later Sunday and found Stewart’s 11-year-old daughter home alone.
Police said he took the girl’s key, got her out of the house, and changed the locks.
He then had family members bring the girl to their home next door
“What (he) did to me was unacceptable, and then (he) crossed the line — (he) went and took my child,” Stewart said. “(He) didn’t just take a piece of furniture or lock the door or change the locks, (he) violated my daughter and our privacy.”
Ebbing was charged with abduction, burglary, and obstructing official business following the incident, and a judge bound the case over to a grand jury Wednesday following a preliminary hearing.
Stewart’s daughter said she was not scared while she was at Ebbing’s house for about 15 minutes, but she was bewildered and wondered where her mother was.
Ebbing insisted to the judge that he had not physically removed the girl or threatened her.
“I have no animosity toward her,” he said. “She was trespassing.”
Watch this video report posted online by WLWT-TV: