North Carolina Kidnapping Suspect Arrested in DC; Girl Found Safe | NBC New York
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North Carolina Kidnapping Suspect Arrested in DC; Girl Found Safe

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    A North Carolina man accused of kidnapping his niece and killing his parents was arrested in Washington, D.C., Sunday and is expected to be extradited after a court appearance Monday. News 4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports.

    (Published Monday, April 3, 2017)

    A man accused of killing his parents and abducting his niece in North Carolina was arrested in the nation's capital Sunday night after a brief chase near D.C.'s monuments and memorials.

    The 11-year-old girl was found in the car with the suspect, 37-year-old Curtis Atkinson Jr., the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a news conference.

    An Amber Alert was issued for the victim in Charlotte, North Carolina, after her grandparents were found dead inside a home Sunday afternoon, according to NBC Charlotte.

    Atkinson is suspected of killing the victims, his parents. His parents became guardians of his brother's daughter after his brother was killed in 2013.

    D.C. police flooded the area near the memorials after getting a call from someone who said they had been kidnapped, according to Maj. Mike Smathers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. 

    Based on the caller's description of her location, police searched the area for the car, Smathers said. Police didn't say whether the caller was the missing girl.

    Police found the suspect's vehicle, a 2005 white Chevy Impala with North Carolina plates. There was a short chase before the car crashed into another car on Independence Avenue SW near the Washington Memorial, police said.

    Atkinson, 25-year-old Nikkia Cooper and the victim were found inside the car.

    Atkinson and Cooper were taken into custody.

    The girl was taken to a hospital but appeared to be OK, Metropolitan Police Department Capt. David Sledge said. 

    Cooper is being held in Washington on drug charges, police said. She is wanted in North Carolina for kidnapping, according to court records.

    Authorities planned to extradite Atkinson and Cooper to North Carolina.

    Mark Czerner told The Washington Post he was photographing cherry blossoms near the Washington Monument when he heard what was likely the sound of the crash.

    "I heard a loud thud,'' Czerner said, adding that he then saw police with guns drawn approach the car. Someone was pulled from the driver's seat and after the front passenger side door was pried open, two more people were pulled out.

    He said one appeared to be the girl and she sat crying on a curb next to an officer.

    Atkinson was charged in North Carolina with murder in the deaths of his parents, Ruby Atkinson, 62, and Curtis Atkinson Sr., 63. Curtis Atkinson Jr. lived in the home, police said.

    Officers were called to the Atkinsons' home Sunday morning to assist fire officials with a call about a house fire, police said. The victims were found dead inside the home. Police learned that a white Chevrolet Impala left the scene just before firefighters arrived and later issued an Amber Alert requesting help finding the missing girl and the car.

    Atkinson's cousin Nina Chandler of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, said Atkinson was not estranged from his parents and the family doesn't know what happened or why, the Associated Press reported.