- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

CHARLES CITY, Va. (AP) - A 16-year-old Richmond girl was hit in the head with a shovel, stuffed into the trunk of a car and taken to a weathered mobile home where she was doused with bleach and gasoline but managed to escape while her assailant was digging her grave, Charles City County authorities said Thursday.

The suspect, 37-year-old Delvin Barnes, was apprehended in Maryland on Wednesday after officers investigating the early October attack recognized his car on televised video of a Philadelphia woman’s abduction and alerted federal authorities.

The Virginia girl remains hospitalized with third-degree chemical burns, said Charles City County Sheriff’s Capt. Jayson Crawley said. The Philadelphia woman was rescued and is recovering at home.

Barnes is being returned to Virginia to face several charges, including attempted capital murder.

In interviews and at a news conference Thursday, Crawley and his colleagues told a harrowing tale of the teenager’s abduction and life-or-death dash through the woods to a building supply company about two miles away. She arrived naked and covered in blood, bleach and gas. A woman at the business gave her a coat, called 911 and comforted the girl until sheriffs’ deputies and paramedics arrived.

“She was still in a state of shock,” said Deputy Floyd Miles, who was first to respond.

Crawley said the girl had been reported missing two days earlier, on Oct. 1. He said Barnes showed the teenager pictures of other girls he claimed to have attacked and asked her “how did she want to die.”

According to Crawley, Barnes took the girl outside and told her to take off her clothes, which he set afire. He said Barnes soaked the girl in flammables, and when he turned his back to start digging, the victim ran. Barnes apparently did not give chase.

Crawley said Barnes lived in the mobile home in the semi-rural area about 30 miles southeast of Richmond with his elderly parents, who told investigators they knew nothing about what happened. Nobody answered the door at the home Thursday.

Authorities executed a search warrant at the home after receiving DNA evidence on Oct. 28 linking Barnes to the abduction, Crawley said. He said investigators recovered “significant evidence” to substantiate the girl’s story, but he declined to be specific.

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