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Suspect arrested for abduction of 5-year-old

BRIDGEPORT — Police Chief John Bumba on Tuesday announced the arrest of a man who had been wanted on suspicion of abducting a 5-year-old girl Saturday.

Bumba said the suspect, Paul George Adam Snavely, 45 and homeless, turned himself in Tuesday.

The girl was recovered safely Saturday, shortly after the reported incident, Bumba said.

“An officer was dispatched to the Howard Street area in reference to a 5-year-old girl that had just been abducted,” Bumba said. “A Belmont County sheriff’s deputy was patrolling through town when he was waved down by the mother. … She stated her ex-boyfriend just took her daughter and was heading toward South Lincoln Avenue.

“Bridgeport officers along with the Belmont County deputy searched the area of the river bank and found the 5-year-old girl clinging to a branch,” Bumba said. “The male was observed running north on the water’s edge. Bridgeport officers along with the deputy rescued the child, and Bridgeport fire and EMS checked the young female out for injuries. … She’s fine.”

Bumba said the situation easily could have been much worse.

“She wasn’t in the water, but she was right along the river,” he said. “Thank God we were in the right place at the right time.”

Bumba said law enforcement put the word out to surrounding communities on both sides of the Ohio River that they were searching for a child who had been reported abducted and, later, for the suspect. They received positive results on Tuesday.

“He must have got worried that we were searching for him, because he came in and turned himself in,” Bumba said.

Snavely was transported to the Belmont County Jail and is being held on charges of abduction, endangering children and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, all third-degree felonies.

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