DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WKBN/KARK/WGHP/FOX16) – A North Carolina sheriff held a press conference Monday afternoon after a wanted Mercer County man accused of kidnapping a girl from the state was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Arkansas.
Pennsylvania State Police issued a warrant for the arrest of 38-year-old William Ice on Feb. 9. He was accused of sexually assaulting a teen, and state police believed he was on the run.
Authorities in North Carolina, near Greensboro, said it initially took time for them to learn Ice’s true identity, saying he was using a fake name online. Then, they searched Ice’s home in Mercer County and discovered the names and addresses of two other North Carolina teenagers.
“Upon interviewing and also seizing their school computers, we found that there was a total of ten juveniles that had contact with Mr. Ice,” said Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson.
Around 8 p.m. Saturday night, Arkansas State Police officers recognized the vehicle Ice was reported driving in Lonoke.
The officers went to inspect the car and saw two people inside and ordered the driver, later identified as Ice, out of the vehicle, according to a press release.
Police say Ice got out of the car and started shooting at them, critically wounding an officer on the scene. The other officer was uninjured and returned fire as Ice took off in the Dodge Sport.
Another officer in the area spotted Ice fleeing the scene and chased him until his car got stuck in a snowbank, according to officials.
The trooper who was on the chase found Ice critically injured from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Lonoke police say she has been returned to her family in North Carolina.
Davidson County deputies say the teen was using her school-issued laptop to communicate with a person Ice, using multiple online platforms.
Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons said school laptops have firewall protection that is in place when students are in school but not when they’re learning virtually from home.
Ten other juveniles in Alamance County were contacted by Ice on their school computers, according to Johnson.
Investigators say they’re convinced had Ice not left North Carolina soon after kidnapping Savannah Childress, he would have abducted one of the other teenagers.
Investigators say Ice targeted middle school age children through email accounts, Skype and multiple sites that leave as little of a digital footprint as possible.
State police say they are investigating the officer-involved shooting, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina and Pennsylvania State Police are involved in the child abduction investigation.
Watch the full press conference below: