CLANTON, AL (WSFA) - A manhunt in Chilton County has ended with the arrest of a man accused of stealing a vehicle with a baby inside.
The child was quickly rescued unharmed after the suspect, later identified as Scottie Allen Johnson, abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene on foot.
The incident started around 11:15 a.m. Friday with a woman’s 911 call that her car had been stolen while she was inside the Dollar Tree store in Clanton. The woman told dispatchers her young child was still inside the vehicle.
As officers raced toward the business, another call came in from an employee of the nearby Walmart who told dispatch a man got out of a vehicle, told her there was a baby in the car, then briskly walked away. The officers diverted to the Walmart and found the child safe.
A manhunt for the suspect quickly formed with police setting up a perimeter and temporarily placing area schools and assisted living facilities on lockdown.
Walmart security pulled video that showed the suspect fleeing into the woods behind the store. Clanton police responded with several K9 officers and a search of the woods was conducted.
During the search, officers found multiple shoe prints and one of the K9 units recovered a pair of pants Johnson discarded just before he made his way out of the woods onto a nearby roadway.
Officers actually made contact with Johnson before they realized he was their suspect. He was walking in a nearby neighborhood but wasn’t thought to be the suspect because of the different clothes he was wearing.
Once the discarded pants were found and a K9 officer tracked the scent to where Johnson had been scene, law enforcement responded to his home where a search warrant was served.
Police Chief Kevin Maddox said the warrant helped officers recover wet shoes that matched the pattern of those left in the woods.
Johnson was arrested and taken to the Chilton County Jail.
The investigation is ongoing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify the suspect’s name to Scottie Allen Johnson, not Scottie Allen Hunter, in all references.