A woman charged with abducting a Virginia toddler from church earlier this month apparently tried to abduct children from two other churches earlier in the day but was turned away by workers in the nurseries.
Prosecutors said Thursday that Nancy Renee Fridley, 44, apparently had plans to abduct two children, as investigators had learned she told neighbors she was regaining custody of her two sons, one about 2 and one younger, the Roanoke Times reported.
Additionally, Fridley and her boyfriend, Bobby Lee Taylor, sent investigators fake tips about the location of missing 2-year-old Noah Gabriel Trout, prosecutors said.
The new details were revealed during a hearing in which Fridley was seeking bond, but after hearing the allegations, Judge Robert Viar declined to do so. “I can’t think of anything that would guarantee the safety of the public at this point,” Viar said.
But the judge agreed to a request by Fridley’s attorney, Ryan Hamrick, for a competency evaluation to determine Fridley’s state of mind at the time of the abduction.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Fridley walked into the nursery on May 3 at Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead, where she told nursery workers she’d come to pick up a child, pointing to little Noah. She was photographed leaving with the boy, and 25 hours later, police found the boy in the mobile home she shared with Taylor in Clifton Forge, 90 miles from Ripplemead.
Fridley was charged with abduction and felony child endangerment in Giles County, where the abduction took place, and drug possession in Allegheny County, where she lives. Taylor was charged with abduction and drug possession in Alleghany County.
Prosecutors told the court Thursday that Fridley and Taylor had no connection with Noah Trout or his family — and that it appeared Fridley was preparing to abduct two children, the Times said. In addition to telling neighbors she was about to regain custody of her sons, officers found two fully set up beds for children in her mobile home. She had also bought supplies, like sippie cups, and a onesie that was too small for Noah.
“She intended to take not just one, but multiple children,” Giles County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bobby Lilly said.
Lilly also said that investigators had found evidence that Fridley had visited a church in Narrows, about eight miles from Ripplemead, in March or April and returned to that church on May 3, but nursery workers questioned her and turned her away because she gave a name they didn’t know. Fridley next went to a church across the street, where she was again turned away. And then she went to the church in Ripplemead.
Once she got Noah back to Clifton Forge, she shaved his head and introduced him to neighbors.
Fridley is due in court again in Giles County on August 16 for a preliminary hearing. Thursday’s hearing was held in nearby Montgomery County because a staff member of Giles County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Stephanie Murray-Shortt was attending the May 3 church service at Riverview Baptist Church when Noah was taken, Lilly said, and Murray-Shortt recused herself. Another judge will be appointed to hear the case.
Fridley and Taylor, 42, have preliminary hearings in Alleghany County on June 25.
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[Featured image: Noah Trout: left, Giles County Sheriff’s Office; right, with his mother/Trout family]