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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Steuben County Woman charged with Kidnaping Woman and Her 6 Month-old Daughter

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Billie Jo Ribble, 35, of Bath, N.Y., was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with kidnaping a mother and her six-month old child. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendant abducted a mother and her six month-old child in Pennsylvania on March 1, 2013. At that time, Ribble was wanted by the Steuben County Sheriff's Office on charges of burglary and grand larceny, in relation to a residential burglary that occurred in October 2012. On March 1, investigators from the Steuben County Sheriff's Office and Pennsylvania State Police located and arrested Ribble in Mansfield, Pennsylvania.  After being remanded to the Tioga County Jail in Pennsylvania, Ribble, who is pregnant, was taken to the hospital in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, for treatment in the maternity ward. While there, the defendant became violent, assaulted a Tioga County Corrections Officer who was assigned to guard her, and escaped the hospital by climbing out a window.

            Later on March 1, a woman and her six month-old daughter were asleep in the basement bedroom of a residence in Wellsboro. At 11:30 p.m., the woman was awakened by Ribble, who was standing over her daughter's crib holding a large butcher's knife. The defendant picked up the child, while still holding the knife, and threatened to kill the woman, her child, and herself, if the woman did not take Ribble where she wanted to go.  Thereafter, the woman got into the driver's seat of her car and Ribble got into the front passenger seat, still holding the woman's daughter and the butcher's knife. At the direction of Ribble, the woman drove from Pennsylvania to an exit off Route 15 in Lindley, New York, where the defendant was dropped off. The woman then drove to a gas station in Pennsylvania and called police.  After urgent investigation by the Steuben County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police, the defendant was located at her boyfriend's residence in Corning, New York. Ribble initially barricaded herself in the attic, but  eventually surrendered to authorities without incident. 

            The complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Christopher M. Piehota, the Steuben County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff David Cole, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Mark Koss, the Pennsylvania State Police, under the direction of Commanding Officer, Captain David J. Young, and the Wellsboro (Pennsylvania) Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jim Bodine.

            The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Updated November 18, 2014