Charles Derek Steele

A Fort Oglethorpe man is facing kidnapping and a host of other charges after abducting his ex-girlfriend from a residence in Chickamauga and leading police on a high-speed chase.

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said 32-year-old Charles Derek Steele had been harassing and stalking his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend since February when the couple broke up. But then, on Thursday, April 7, he kidnapped her.

When police located him the next day in Hamilton County in Tennessee, Steele led them on a high-speed chase before being captured.

He is being held in the Hamilton County jail on several charges and will be extradited to Walker County to face kidnapping and other charges, Wilson said.

Steele has a criminal history in Walker, Catoosa and in Hamilton counties, Wilson said.

According to police and news reports:

Steele and the woman began dating in November 2015 and had been living together, dating on and off. The relationship went sour and she tried ending it in February 2016, but Steele continued to harass and stalk her. She told her friend that Steel had struck her four days prior to the kidnapping.

Shortly after midnight on April 7, while the woman was staying at her friend’s residence on Garrett’s Chapel Road in west Chickamauga, Steele showed up.

He dragged the ex-girlfriend by her wrist into his pickup truck, a red Chevy Silverado, and left. The friend immediately called police.

Steele drove to his residence in the Tenn. Highway 58 area in Hamilton County, Tenn. He used intimidation and manhandled her to keep her at his residence, authorities say.


Help for domestic abuse victims

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson encourages anyone facing domestic abuse to report it.

· The Family Crisis Center of Walker, Catoosa, Dade, and Catoosa Counties, www.fccwdcc.org, 706-375-7630.

· Programs for domestic violence victims at the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, gcadv.org, 1-800-33HAVEN (1-800-334-2836).


By 7 a.m. authorities had tracked Steele to his residence. Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies, Chattanooga police and U.S. marshals placed the residence under surveillance while getting a search warrant.

About 11 a.m., Steele fled the residence with his ex-girlfriend, against her will. He carried law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit.

Steele’s truck ran out of gas about 20 minutes later on Hickory Valley Road in Hamilton County. He tried to escape on foot, but he was boxed in, tackled, and arrested.

The woman was not injured in the pursuit. “We have got the bad guy. The victim goes home tonight without any physical scars,” Wilson said when the ordeal ended.

Shell casings were found in Steele’s truck, but no firearm was located, he said.

Wilson praised the team law enforcement effort involving Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department, Chattanooga Police Department, and U.S. Marshal’s Office.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.

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