The violent attack came without warning in a quiet, lakeside neighborhood on Johns Island.

A man, armed with a knife, approached the woman from behind as she returned home after dropping off two of her five children at school.

Court documents on Wednesday revealed new details in the Feb. 13 kidnapping of 4-year-old Heidi Todd and the assault that left her mother hospitalized for two weeks. They were released after Thomas Lawton Evans, 37, made his first court appearance on seven state charges.

The arrest affidavits stated that Evans drove his girlfriend's car to the Todd family's home. As the mother walked inside, Evans pushed her into the house and began the brutal attack in front of Heidi and two of her siblings.

Evans forced the mother onto the kitchen floor, where he rammed her head into the hardwood several times and punched her face, according to the affidavits. The woman suffered facial fractures, bleeding on her brain and neck injuries, the documents said.

"(He) then kept the victim captive while restrained inside the residence for approximately an hour," affidavits said. 

Evans appeared briefly in a courtroom Wednesday and waived his right to a bond hearing. He faces two kidnapping charges and one count of attempted murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery, first-degree burglary and weapon possession. He had already been jailed on a federal kidnapping charge.

Investigators found evidence that Heidi's mother had been sexually assaulted during the home invasion, according to the affidavits.

Authorities said Evans took the mother's purse — containing a debit card — and abducted Heidi, leaving the younger children behind.

A frantic search for the girl ensued, with residents of the Whitney Lake subdivision joining authorities in combing through wooded areas, lakes and trash cans.

Heidi was rescued Feb. 14 in Alabama after railroad workers saw a man asleep in a parked car with a young girl inside.

Evans was captured after a police pursuit that ended in Mississippi. He was driving a stolen car.

While hospitalized, the mother picked two possible suspects out of a six-person photographic lineup, saying the two people were similar to her attacker, the affidavits said. One of them was Evans.  

Evans had been freed from state prison Feb. 1 to serve the remainder of a 10-year sentence on community supervision in the Upstate. 

But two days before Heidi's abduction, he showed up in Berkeley County with a woman's car, a Honda. Deputies encountered him but said they had no reason to arrest him at the time. Authorities tried to check on the car owner, 39-year-old Sharon Hayden, at her Spartanburg County home, but she wasn't around.

Affidavits identified the car owner as Evans' girlfriend, and Evans told investigators that he drove the car before and after the assault.

Hayden's car was later found abandoned in Georgia, where authorities said Evans stole another vehicle. Meanwhile, Hayden's whereabouts have remained unknown. The documents released Wednesday gave no indication about her fate.

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Angie Jackson contributed to this story. Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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