Attorney: Accused 'kidnapper' dad cleared of all Lowndes Co. charges

Attorney: Accused 'kidnapper' dad cleared of all Lowndes Co. charges

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - In August of 2015, WALB reported that two men had been arrested in Lowndes County for kidnapping a child at Westside elementary School.

At the time, law enforcement informed WALB that Michael Ray McCormick and David Scott Stapp, both of Biloxi, Mississippi had flown to Valdosta, to take McCormick's five-year-old child, referring to McCormick as a 'non-custodial parent.'

On Thursday, McCormick's attorney, Nick Bajalia of Valdosta issued a news release to WALB painting a vastly different picture of the events from two years ago, and stating that all charges against the Air Force captain had been dropped.

In his six-page statement, Bajalia refutes all the original charges against McCormick, point by point.

"This has been a lengthy and hard-fought criminal prosecution," said Bajalia. "All charges against Captain McCormick ultimately were dismissed. The July 24, 2017 dismissal of the remaining three misdemeanor Simple Battery charges against Captain McCormick occurred merely 21 days before the second anniversary of the occurrence of this incident."

"Although Captain McCormick was totally vindicated by the dismissal of all charges against him, he and his daughter paid a high price, and both have suffered greatly as a result of this criminal prosecution."

Bajalia said that Andrea Hope Smith, the natural mother of the child, took the child from her school in Biloxi, MS to Valdosta, shortly before a court hearing in Mississippi.

"Ultimately, this entire ordeal was revealed to be a domestic matter from its inception, as opposed to a criminal manner," Bajalia said. "Captain McCormick is a loving and devoted father, and a most deserving human being."

Captain McCormick and his daughter have been reunited, and now live together in Mississippi.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.