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Kilgore police officers honored for saving 2 children from kidnapper

On Friday, Cpl. Joey Johnston and Lt. Joey Chitwood were honored for rescuing two children from...
On Friday, Cpl. Joey Johnston and Lt. Joey Chitwood were honored for rescuing two children from the man who allegedly kidnapped them in 2021. (Source: Kilgore Police Department Facebook page)(Kilgore Police Department Facebook page)
Published: Apr. 10, 2022 at 7:49 PM CDT
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KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - On Friday, two Kilgore police officers received commendations for rescuing two children from the man who allegedly kidnapped them last year.

Lt. Joey Chitwood and Cpl. Joey Johnston were honored for their actions.

According to a post on the Kilgore Police Department Facebook page, a woman called authorities in Rusk after an Amber Alert was issued to let them know that she believed she had seen the abducted children in the Kilgore Walmart.

Early in his shift that day, Chitwood was contacted by the Texas Rangers about the sighting.

“Using their intuition, they believed the abductor may have stayed in Kilgore that night and they wanted to check hotels before check-out time,” the Facebook post stated. “They drove immediately to Motel 6 near I-20 and immediately saw the male abductor loading the car to leave.”

The suspect was believed to be armed, and he had abducted two children, ages 11, and 10, the Facebook post stated. Chitwood and Johnston made a plan, and they executed it. They quickly arrested the suspect and removed the children from the car.

“How they picked the right hotel first only God knows (maybe they were guided),” the Facebook post stated. “One minute later, and the suspect is on I-20. We know their quick actions ended this abduction.”

The Facebook post stated that the people with the Kilgore Police Department fear what might have happened if the abductor had disappeared on I-20.

“Although we praised the pair following this arrest, we didn’t formally recognize them,” the Facebook post stated.

The Kilgore PD chiefs and another lieutenant presented Chitwood and Johnston with their written commendations, which were signed by the mayor, city manager, and police chief.

“We congratulate them on a fantastic job,” the Facebook post stated.

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