Prosecutors have dismissed charges against a Charleston man accused in the abduction of a 4-month-old girl from her Holly Hill home, authorities said.
The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office previously charged Rondell Robert Washington, 26, of Carondolet Street, with kidnapping, first-degree burglary, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and unlawful neglect of a child in connection with the Jan. 14 home invasion and abduction on Catamount Road.
But Washington can't be guilty of the crime, his attorney Mike Dupree said, because he has an airtight alibi.
Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said after consulting with First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe, they decided Washington should no longer be held.
Ravenell said there's still the option of filing other charges against Washington at a later time.
According to Dupree, Washington also has been accused in an alleged domestic dispute that took place 50 miles away at Medical University Hospital around the time of the kidnapping. He faces charges of criminal domestic violence, according to Charleston County jail records.
"It's impossible to be in Holly Hill and at MUSC at the same time," Dupree said. "We're not admitting anything with the MUSC charge, obviously, but he can't be in two places at once."
Pascoe confirmed Friday that the charges against Washington had been dropped. He blamed the mix-up on a lack of funding to hire more prosecutors and investigators to alleviate an overload of pending cases.
"You want to get all this stuff on the front end, but the only thing that will fix that is to get more prosecutors and law enforcement," Pascoe said. "It's as much a tragedy to have innocent people sitting in jail as it is to have guilty people walking the streets."
Orangeburg County sheriff's deputies are still searching for seven men with guns who broke into the Catamount Road home at 3:55 p.m. Jan. 14 and forced three adults and six children to the floor, according to a report.
A 4-month-old baby girl was abducted from the home and later abandoned on a roadside in Berkeley County.
The child was found safe along a stretch of S.C. Highway 311 by a group of church members. She was later returned to her Holly Hill home. Authorities are asking the public to contact the sheriff's office or Crime Stoppers with any tips or information on the crime.
"I want to reassure the citizens of Orangeburg County that we are continuing to investigate the tragic incident that took place more than 10 days ago," Ravenell said.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.