Dalton Police: Man charged with kidnapping after grabbing children at park

Police are charging Jeffrey Melvin Bishop with battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, cruelty to children in the first degree, and pedestrian under the influence. (Image: Whitfield Co. Sheriff's Dept. / WTVC)

Dalton Police say a 48-year-old man faces kidnapping charges after officers say he grabbed and harassed two children on the playground of Al Rollins Park on Wednesday.

DPD spokesman Bruce Frazier says the incident happened shortly after 6 p.m. at one of the park's playgrounds.

He says parents reported to police that a man later identified as 48-year-old Jeffrey Melvin Bishop was harassing children on the playground. Witnesses say Bishop touched at least two children, grabbing one boy by the arms from behind and holding him against his will until the boy’s father intervened.

One family told police that Bishop was chasing their 3-year old daughter around near a swing set, telling the girl she was pretty and to come to him. The girl’s mother told him to leave. The girl’s mother also told police she saw Bishop touch another boy before he approached her daughter, but that boy and his family left the park before officers arrived.

A short time later, police say Bishop approached a group of boys and tried to talk to them, but the boys ignored him.

A 10-year old boy told officers that Bishop grabbed him by the wrist and tried to get him to go into the woods with him. The boy refused.

Police say Bishop then grabbed a 9-year old boy by his arms as he was tying his shoes. The boy struggled but could not get away until his father confronted Bishop, telling him he was calling the cops. Police say Bishop then turned and ran away towards Thornton Avenue.

Responding Dalton officers were able to get a description of Bishop and found him a short distance away walking on Thornton Avenue near Cedar Street.

Police say officers determined that he was intoxicated. After interviewing witnesses further, officers arrested Bishop and charged him with battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, cruelty to children in the first degree, and pedestrian under the influence. At the jail, Bishop was also served with a Whitfield County warrant for failure to appear.

The DPD says there was another boy allegedly grabbed, but the he and his family left before the Dalton Police arrived.

They ask anyone with information about this crime contact Officer Katia Gonzalez at 706-278-9085 (dial 9 and enter extension 545), or Detective Brian Shirley at 706-278-9085 (dial 9 and enter extension 189).

Read the full police incident report below. The names have been redacted to protect the identities of the minors involved.

This is a developing story. Depend on us to bring you updates as we get them.

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