Police arrest suspect in Cookeville home invasion, kidnapping - WSMV News 4

Police arrest suspect in Cookeville home invasion, kidnapping

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Russell Vaughn, 34, has been arrested in connection to the kidnapping. (Source: Cookeville PD) Russell Vaughn, 34, has been arrested in connection to the kidnapping. (Source: Cookeville PD)

A manhunt came to an end in Cookeville after a man allegedly broke into an elderly woman's home, stole her car and kidnapped her.

The suspect, 34-year-old Russell Lee Vaughn, was arrested Thursday morning at Kids Kare Pediatrics & Pediatric Cardiology on South Willow Avenue.

Officials said the victim was found Thursday morning and is "relatively unharmed" but does have some minor injuries. She has not been identified.

The Cookeville Police Department got involved when a woman called 911 around 7 p.m. Wednesday after noticing something odd about a male driver who approached her.

The witness told police she saw the 74-year-old victim inside the car mouthing the words "help me." The driver then took off on Interstate 40.

The witness was able to give police the license plate number of the stolen SUV. Police are crediting this woman with helping to save the victim's life.

Around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, the suspect let the victim out of the car in front of a motel on South Willow Drive. Police have not released details about the specific location.

Officers later found the vehicle and followed Vaughn for less than a mile before he allegedly ditched the car and ran off.

Around 11:30 a.m., Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton announced Vaughn had been arrested.

According to police, Vaughn and the victim did not know each other prior to the abduction. Vaughn is believed to have had a gun at some point during the burglary and kidnapping.

Police believe the incident appears to have been random but said Vaughn may have been trying to get money for drugs.

Vaughn is a resident of Cookeville. He was arrested recently on drug charges in Putnam County but does not have any violent crimes on record.

While the manhunt was still going on, Shelton said the police department went door-to-door in the Fairground Lane neighborhood and checked on families. Park View Elementary School students were ordered to shelter in place.

A concerned parent who was picking up his children from the school said the whole community is shaken up about what happened.

"To hear something like this in our town, it's just amazing. Like, I don't have words to speak about it because it's crazy how something like this could happen," said Waldo Vasquez of Cookeville.

Vaughn is charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated kidnapping.

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