Shelbyville Police make arrests in abduction threat case

Desiree and Robert Clawson
Police and deputies in Shelby County arrested a man and woman Friday morning in an alleged child abduction attempt case. Desiree and Robert Clawson were arrested.

Authorities spent all night searching for the couple, who were allegedly attempting to abduct a child. They searched areas known to be frequented by homeless people such as abandoned  buildings. They also stepped up security at local schools.

A mechanic who works in an industrial park spotted the couple walking along the road.

"Looked like they had been camping out all night. They looked like they were on a Himalayan expedition. They had their backpacks and bedrolls on like maybe they spent the night out somewhere. I rolled up beside 'em real slow and recognized them from the pictures they had out there. And I called the police," said Jack DiMartino.

A warrant out of White County was issued for Desiree and Robert Clawson. The couple was spotted at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Circle K store on the north side of Shelbyville.

Police said the couple planned to abduct a child. Shelbyville Police Lt. Mike Turner says the danger was identified from letters the two suspects wrote.

A message was sent to parents of Shelbyville schoolchildren, alerting them of the danger.

"We are currently working with the school systems to have plans in place to protect our children," Lt. Turner wrote in a release.

Lt. Turner says that police don't have any information that would indicate that the couple is armed.

Clerks at the convenience store where the couple was seen recognized the photo released by investigators.

"Oh yeah, I've seen her around," two clerks said Thursday evening. "And him. I've seen him. He looks kind of familiar."

The clerks say they heard the age range of the targeted children was from 8-12 years old.

Customers at the store are talking about the suspects, too.

"Today, it doesn't surprise me. You hear about it every day on the news," said a mother, Randi Catt.

Two days ago, she says she saw them walking around the Walgreens and the McDonald's in town.

"I knew about it because my daughter's school told me about it," said another mother.

In addition to the school's alert, parents gave their kids their own warning.

"I told him just to be aware. They know strangers and known not to go near them," said Christina Ragan.