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Justice News

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Steuben County Woman Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping Woman and 6-Month Old Child


       Rochester, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Billie Jo Ribble, 36, of Bath, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer to kidnapping a mother and her six-month old child and transporting them from Pennsylvania to New York. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000 or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that 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 in the First Degree and Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, 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 the defendant 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, Pennsylvania. 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. While still holding the knife, the defendant picked up the child and threatened to kill the woman and 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 the defendant, the woman drove from Pennsylvania to an exit off Route 15 in Lindley, N.Y., where Ribble was dropped off. The woman then drove to a gas station in Pennsylvania and called the police.

After urgent investigation by the Steuben County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police, Ribble was located at her boyfriend's residence in Corning, N.Y. Ribble initially barricaded herself in the attic, but eventually surrendered to authorities without incident.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 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 Commissioner Frank Noonan, and the Wellsboro (Pennsylvania) Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jim Bodine.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 25, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Larimer.
Updated November 28, 2014