January 21, 2022

Kidnap suspect extradited from Pennsylvania

A Watertown man accused of kidnapping a woman and her 18-month-old daughter was returned Thursday to Cortland from Pennsylvania, where he has been arrested, and was to be arraigned today.

Jeremy L. Flowers, 34, of 615 Boyd St., was charged March 18 with second-degree kidnapping, third-degree larceny and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies; and third-degree assault, second-degree menacing and endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors.

Flowers accused his girlfriend of cheating on him and told her the three of them were going to Atlanta. The woman told police Flowers had forced her and her daughter into her Nissan Altima after an argument at a Utica hotel before stopping for cigarettes and gas in Cortland, Detective Lt. Michael Strangeway said.

The woman had tried to call police in Utica, she said, Flowers interrupted her and took her phone. When Utica police tried to call the woman back, Flowers accessed the woman’s account and changed her telephone number.

Flowers punched the woman in the face, head and arms, grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face and head against the passenger side window and the dashboard between leaving a Utica hotel and stopping in Cortland for cigarettes and gas, Strangeway said.

At one point, Flowers threatened to kill her and hit her daughter on top of her head with his fist, the woman told police.

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 hangup call about 1:20 a.m. March 18 from the Speedway at 154 Clinton Ave. in Cortland. When police arrived, the store clerk said a woman had come in saying her boyfriend had beaten her. When police found the 26-year-old victim locked in a storage closet inside the Speedway, they saw that she had been beaten.

The woman described the vehicle to officers, but they could not find it, or the victim’s daughter, Strangeway said. The store’s surveillance video showed Flowers driving away when the woman ran toward the back of the store.

Cortland police worked with emergency dispatchers to ping the woman’s cell phone and broadcast an Amber Alert. They tracked the suspect south on Interstate 81 into Pennsylvania.

After several attempts, Pennsylvania state police intercepted the vehicle in Luzerne County, near Wilkes-Barre.

Flowers was arrested without further incident, police said, and the girl was recovered unhurt. The child is not related to Flowers.