NC man arrested in 1986 kidnapping, murder of 4-year-old girl

NC man arrested in 1986 kidnapping, murder of 4-year-old girl


A North Carolina man has been arrested in the killing of 4-year-old girl who was snatched from her South Carolina home in the middle of the night 35 years ago.

Thomas Eric McDowell, 61, was charged on Thursday with murder, kidnapping and burglary in the decades-old disappearance of little Jessica Gutierrez.

Authorities previously said that someone had abducted Jessica after breaking into her family’s home in Lexington, South Carolina, through a window in the early hours of June 6, 1986.

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At the time, Jessica’s 6-year-old sister told their mother that the “man in the magic hat” had taken the younger girl.

Despite extensive searches over the next three decades, no trace of Jessica has ever been found.

Jessica Gutierrez was taken

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