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Suspect in I-59 sexual assault captured, charged

By Gary Lloyd

JEFFERSON COUNTY — A suspect has been arrested and charged in a sexual assault case that happened on Interstate 59 near mile marker 117 on April 23.

A 34-year-old victim reported that her car had broken down, leaving her stranded. While she was waiting for help a passing motorist in a white van stopped. The male driver of the van was the only occupant, Chief Deputy Randy Christian said.

Christian said the man got out and offered to help. After looking under the hood he told her that she needed oil and coolant, and offered to drive her to the store to get it. She believed him to be a Good Samaritan and got in the van, Christian said. He took her to three gas stations in Fairfield and then back to her car. Once they arrived back at her car the man slapped her, sexually assaulted her and took her money and cell phone, Christian said. He then left her on the side of the road. Another passing motorist stopped and called 911.

Sheriff’s detectives began work on the case and sent the description of the vehicle and the suspect to law enforcement agencies across the Southeast. On April 30, detectives received information from Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia that provided valuable leads in the case and painted a picture of a three-state crime spree.

The investigation revealed that a man matching the suspect’s description had robbed a woman in Byram, Miss., on April 22 and then stole the white van from a church in Jackson, Miss. The suspect then drove through Alabama, where he is believed to have attacked the victim on Interstate 59.

After that attack he continued to the metro Atlanta area where he robbed another victim and led Cobb County police on a pursuit before being captured.

Jefferson County detectives obtained photographs of the suspect and identified him as the man responsible for the attack on a 34-year-old woman who was broken down along Interstate 59 near mile marker 117 on April 23.

On May 1, sheriff’s detectives obtained arrest warrants for 21-year-old Malachi Josephus Moody of Jackson, Miss. He’s charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy. He will be extradited to Alabama when released in Georgia.

Contact Gary Lloyd at news@trussvilletribune.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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