ST. STEPHEN — Five minutes after she said goodbye to her grandparents, locked the door and went back to bed Monday morning, the 17-year-old heard footsteps in the hallway.
The teenager had a sense that someone had been watching the Peppermill Way home overnight.
But she was alone when she heard the floor creak.
“I thought it was my grandmother,” she said. “But I looked up, and he had a gun and a knife in his hand.”
It was her mother’s estranged boyfriend.
The startling sight started a daylong encounter with 36-year-old Telly Darnell McClam, who the teen said raped her and used duct tape and a revolver to hold her and her mother captive. The ordeal for Deadrene W. McHoney, 36, and her daughter ended after McClam sped away from authorities in Williamsburg County and dashed into the woods with a stash of ammunition.
Deputies captured McClam after an eight-hour search. In a case that prompted a statewide Amber Alert, he faces two counts of kidnapping and of using a firearm in a violent crime. He also faces charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree burglary and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
He remained jailed late Tuesday without bail.
The teenager and her mother recounted the events to The Post and Courier, which does not identify alleged victims of sexual crimes.
Already a registered sexual offender, McClam had left prison in March 2012 after a 15-year sentence for criminal sexual conduct. McHoney, who attended St. Stephen High School with the suspect, started dating him shortly after his release.
The relationship soon became abusive, she said. He wouldn’t let her leave, she said.
Her frustrations boiled over Thursday, when she said he wrapped his hands around her neck, threw her onto a bed and promised to rape her 13-year-old daughter. But McHoney and her daughter escaped, she said, after McClam fell asleep amid his cocaine-induced rage.
But the St. Stephen Police Department didn’t aggressively pursue his arrest, she said, because she had declined to cooperate with authorities trying to prosecute another case in the spring. This time, she said, the police didn’t believe her and refused to take her daughter’s statement.
“The police told me there’s nothing they could do, that we’ll just have to wait and see,” McHoney said. “We waited, and now we see what happened.”
Chief John Waters, though, said investigators just did not have enough evidence.
McHoney’s mother suspected that McClam had broken into her home in the days leading up to the alleged kidnapping. She said he had rummaged through her drawer of underwear and another that contained small bottles of liquor.
“He searched my entire house,” Johnnie R. Jenkins said. “He was prying my door open while I was at work, thinking she was there.”
When the teen left with him about 5 a.m. Monday, McClam told her that he had been waiting since 8 o’clock the night before, she said. They walked through the woods to a nearby dirt road, where he had parked his Hyundai sedan overnight.
Riding over more back streets, they ended up on a long dirt road near Pineville, where she said he stopped and ordered her to perform sexual acts. She refused.
“That’s where he told me I was going to die,” the teen said.
As McClam got out, the teen said, she tried locking all the doors. She hoped that he had left the keys, but she couldn’t find them. Her heart sunk further, she said, when McClam climbed into the backseat and told her that the rear door locks were broken.
The teen said McClam threatened to shoot her as he sexually assaulted her on the hood of the Hyundai.
McClam, she said, acted as though nothing had happened as he opened the trunk and fetched a pair of his own pants for her to wear. She no longer wanted to wear her own soiled clothes.
Thoughts about the ordeal now prompt tears from the teen. But when they left the remote site, the teen was just happy to be alive.
“We were going down these dirt roads,” she said. “I thought his intention was to kill me. The gun was cocked the whole time.”
As she called home about 7 a.m. at her captor’s command, the teen told her mother not to call the police. McHoney walked outside her home on Grass Road in St. Stephen and saw McClam’s Hyundai.
“I was very worried,” McHoney said. “But he was not going to pull out of my yard with my daughter in that car without me.”
‘Kill you all’
McHoney saw the revolver tucked under the driver’s leg when she climbed in.
McClam drove about 20 miles to the north and parked in the Salters area of Williamsburg County. That’s where, McHoney said, he broke into an abandoned home and taped her and her daughter’s legs and hands.
“He said he raped my daughter and slapped me in the face,” McHoney said. “Then he went back to the car.”
When he returned, McHoney said, McClam had learned about the manhunt.
“You know I can kill you all right now?” McHoney recalled him saying. “You promised you weren’t going to the police.”
McHoney hoped that the authorities’ involvement would pay off. But McClam drove her and her daughter over more dirt roads.
Once, she said, they stopped at his sister’s house and dined on sloppy Joes, potato salad and cupcakes. They dropped by his aunt’s house and got $5 for gas.
McClam had instructed the two to stay calm. His family members never suspected that anything was wrong, McHoney said.
For hours, the three sat in the idling car in a forest. At one point, McHoney said she managed to get out and start walking away. She didn’t get far.
“He pointed the gun at me,” McHoney said. “The whole time, I was doing what he said because he had a gun.”
‘Going to get out’
Authorities were in the area after getting a tip about McClam and his family.
The three once came upon a motorist, who told them that deputies were looking for a suspect they planned to “shoot on sight,” McHoney said.
That startled McClam. He was driving out of the woods when a deputy spotted his car.
Capt. Rick Ollic of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office said deputies had been talking with family members about where McClam might be hiding.
“We ended up encountering him,” Ollic said.
Deputies tracked McClam’s car, though Ollic said they did not give chase.
With McHoney in the front passenger seat and her daughter in the back without a working seat belt, the Hyundai hit 90 mph and nearly struck a light post, they said.
They ended up back at the house where they said McClam had bound them.
“He let us out and told us to stop the police, to get them off his back,” McHoney’s daughter said. “He opened the trunk, got the bullets out and ran into the woods.”
It was about 2 p.m. when relief overwhelmed the freed duo.
Deputies found McClam about 10 p.m. He still had a gun but didn’t struggle as he was arrested, Ollic said.
McHoney hoped that the latest charges against McClam would stick and that she could finally sever ties with him. But on Tuesday morning, she said, she got a phone call from someone in Berkeley County’s jail. It was McClam.
“He said, ‘You know I’m going to get out, right?’ ” McHoney said. “And he started laughing.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.