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UPDATE: Nearly four hours lapsed before abduction Johnson City business reported

Becky Campbell • Updated Apr 19, 2019 at 5:05 PM

A Johnson City business’ human resources employee instructed its security officer to not call police after an employee reported seeing a co-worker abducted in the parking lot, which delayed the investigation for nearly four hours, according to a police report released Friday.

Matthew Dewbre, 34, Fort Smith, Arkansas, was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, aggravated kidnapping, and violation of an order of protection.

Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department deputies helped Johnson City police track down Dewbre and Vanessa Robson, woman he was accused of abducting and assaulting.

The incident occurred in the parking lot of the ACT call center, 2238 E. Fairview Ave., around 11:40 a.m., Thursday, but the police report indicates it was not immediately reported. It was 3:30 p.m. before law enforcement became involved.

“Safe Passage employees called 911 stating that someone from ACT had contacted them and reported the incident,” the police report stated.

A Safe Passage representative responded to ACT with police officers and began an investigation. Safe Passage is a local domestic violence shelter for women and children who need a safe place to stay while dealing with abusive living conditions.

Timeline

(from police report)

Thursday

11:40 a.m. The witness was in the parking lot of ACT on her lunch break and saw a vehicle following a female; the driver was reported to be a “skinny white male,” and was shouting obscenities at the women he followed and demanded she get into his car. The witness approached and told the man to leave the woman alone and “pled with the female to not get into the car, but (the woman) very reluctantly did.”

11:45 a.m. The witness reported the incident to security guard, who called HR when the woman didn’t return from her break. According to the police report, the security guard “stated that HR instructed her not to report the incident to law enforcement. (The woman’s) backpack was still at ACT but her cell phone was not.”

3:30 p.m. Safe Passage, the domestic violence shelter, received a call from someone at ACT about the incident, and called 911 to file a report.

A Safe Passage employee and Johnson City police officers responded to ACT to begin an investigation.

7:15 p.m. Case turned over to night shift; Officer Erik Ferguson became involved in the investigation.

8:30 p.m.

Dewbre and the woman are located at a Mexican restaurant on Tinker Road in Unicoi County; Dewbre was arrested and transported to the Washington County Detention Center. Robson was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Friday

3:34 a.m.

Police obtain video surveillance from Roadrunner Market, 408 N. Broadway that they said showed Dewbre and the woman walk inside the market and the woman attempting to get away; bystanders stepped in, but Dewbre was able to force the woman outside and into the car. The officer noted the “images showed a look of distress on (the woman’s) face and concern on the faces of bystanders as she leaves the store with him.”

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After his arrest, Dewbre was held in the Washington County Detention Center on $75,000 bond. Police said he was due to appear Friday morning in Sessions Court, but county offices were closed for Good Friday.

A call to the local ACT location was redirected to the company’s Sacramento, California office. A representative there said she would have someone return the call Friday, but as of 5 p.m. there had been no response.

In August, Johnson City police said they arrested Dewbre after finding him with the keys to a stolen vehicle at a local motel. He was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

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Reported earlier:

Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office deputies helped Johnson City police track down an Arkansas man and a woman he was accused of abducting and assaulting Thursday.

Matthew Dewbre, 34, Fort Smith, Arkansas, was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, aggravated kidnapping, and violation of an order of protection.

Police were notified of the woman’s abduction, which occurred at a business in east Johnson City. Dewbre was developed as a suspect, and officers began searching for him and the victim.

About 8:30 p.m., Dewbre and the victim were found with Unicoi County’s help. Dewbre was taken into custody, and the victim was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Dewbre was held in the Washington County Detention Center on $75,000. Police said he was due to appear Friday morning in Sessions Court, but county offices were closed for Good Friday.

In August, Johnson City police said they arrested Dewbre after finding him with the keys to a stolen vehicle at a local motel. He was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

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