Meridian Star

May 4, 2013

Two more women charged in kidnap case

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Two more people have been charged in federal court in Jackson in connection with the kidnapping of a 6-year-old girl from a Kemper County elementary school.

    Kemper County Sheriff James Moore confirmed the two women, Wanda Dansby of Poterville, and Shamarius Ruffin, of Toomsuba, were taken into custody Friday. Dansby, who was a secretary at East Elementary School at the time Jashayla Hopson was taken from the library by Jessie Pollard Tuesday afternoon, was charged with kidnapping, as was Ruffin. Moore said both women would be held until next week when a federal judge would decide if bonds for Dansby and Ruffin would be issued.

    Pollard, of North Port, Ala., was charged in federal court Thursday with kidnapping. She is being held in federal lockup without bond. Pollard is a veteran teacher at West Kemper High School, The Clarion-Ledger reported.

    Moore said Dansby was a friend of Pollard's while Ruffin was Pollard's great-niece.

    Moore said depending on what the prosecutor wants to do based on the findings of the case, a federal grand jury may decide later this month to indict more people who are thought to have been involved in the abduction.

    Jashayla was taken Tuesday around 1:45 p.m. from East Kemper County Elementary School in Scooba. For the next 24 hours, FBI, MBI and Kemper County authorities were working from the East Mississippi Community College campus in Scooba in trying to locate the missing girl.

    Jashayla was found on Burrage Road in Lauderdale County Wednesday afternoon after she was reportedly let out of a vehicle driven by one of the women and walked up to a home. The occupant of the home recognized the missing girl from news reports and an Amber Alert that was issued by the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Jashayla was taken to a Meridian hospital where she was checked out by medical personnel and reunited with her parents.

    Based on information obtained Wednesday, FBI, MBI and Kemper County authorities were able to locate Pollard and take her into custody. Further information obtained by authorities since Pollard's apprehension led to Dansby and Ruffin's arrest, Moore said.