Father wanted for kidnapping 7-month-old son surrenders to police

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus police said the search for a missing 7-month-old boy is over after the child’s father, who was wanted on felony kidnapping and assault charges, turned himself in. The boy was found safe in the care of his grandmother.

Columbus police said 32-year-old Montella Jovan Whitfield assaulted his wife and pushed her from a vehicle Friday afternoon. The couple’s 7-month-old baby was not accounted for, causing police to be concerned that Whitfield may have kidnapped the boy.

Officers accounted for five of the couple’s six young children, but they did not know what happened to the 7-month-old son.

Whitfield appeared before a judge in the Franklin County Municipal Court this morning. The state and police asked to keep him in jail on a high bond for his violent behavior. It was said in court that Whitfield had punched, kicked and strangled his wife to unconsciousness. She was transported to Grant Medical Center where she was treated for a partially collapsed lung.

Whitfield spoke up in court, against his attorney’s advice.

“I’m trying to get a reasonable bond. I’m trying to put my businesses intact and I’ll face you all,” said Whitfield. “When I found out this happened and you put me on the news, I turned myself in. I brought my son in. As soon as it happened, I came.”

Police have said that Whitfield has a cleaning business.

Whitfield is being charged with kidnapping and felonious assault. He is being held on a $125,000 bond for each charge, totaling $250,000.

In a press conference Friday, Columbus police Sgt. Dave Pelphrey said, “None of the information that we obtained today leads us to believe that he is armed…however, due to the violent nature of the assault against his wife, we do believe that he is violent and dangerous.”

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