While the manhunt for 57-year-old George Edwin Hardin continues, local law-enforcement authorities released additional details about the kidnapping case that began Sunday afternoon.
Cumberland County Sheriff Casey Cox confirmed Hardin lives near his victim but the two were not acquainted.
Crossville police reports indicate Hardin stole the woman’s car Sunday and kidnapped her from her home.
When they stopped at the Elite Market at 4050 Highway 127 North, the victim was able to contact another woman in the ladies’ room. According to the police incident report, the victim followed the other woman into a restroom stall and told her, “I’m in trouble and I need your help. There’s a man right outside your door and he has a gun. I need you to tell someone. We will be getting into a black Honda.”
The woman had the store clerk call 911, then discovered the victim had left her purse behind in the restroom.
Authorities say the woman had stopped at the market to buy gas before her son’s soccer game.
As officers arrived, witnesses observed Hardin and the victim headed west on Interstate 40.
A time stamp on the surveillance footage had placed the Honda’s time of arrival at Elite Market at 3:22 p.m., with the victim driving. Police officers were able to identify Hardin on the video from prior experience with him.
Hardin, who was convicted of rape and armed robbery in Johnson City in 1981, was placed on the Tennessee sex-offender registry. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, where he was convicted of the 1987 first-degree murder of a fellow inmate. He was sentenced to life in prison, but had been released on parole.
Hardin is five foot ten, weighs 207 pounds and was last seen wearing a teal shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes. The TBI reports Hardin has multiple tattoos: on his left shoulder, upper left arm, lower left arm and lower right arm.