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Mother speaks out about kidnapping attempt in Valdosta

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Posted at 9:23 AM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 19:08:17-05

VALDOSTA GA. (WTXL) — A Nashville mother is now speaking out about her terrifying experience after a man tried to kidnap her 9-month old son while she was at Walmart grocery shopping.

The incident happened in broad daylight at a Walmart in Valdosta on Norman Drive last week and she alleges that the man, identified as 45-year-old Harry Dotson, admitted that he was a trafficker.

"My son needed his diaper changed and the stuff was in car, so I came back in the car to change his diaper and, as I was leaving the car to go back in the store, a man approached me and grabbed my son by the arm and said, 'You need to come with me,' and I said no and snatched my son back from him and ran inside," said Katie Exom.

She then waited two hours inside the store with her family only to come back outside and see he was still there. Again, he approaching Exom and this time, she got in her car, locked her doors, and called the police.

What Dotson told her while police were trying to apprehend him was shocking.

"While police were trying to get him, he was telling me that he was one of those people that traffic people," Exom explained. "Just out of the blue, he just told me that."

Not long after the incident, officers arrested Dotson.

"I was kinda scared. I didn't know why there was a stranger walking up to me," said Exom. She says she posted about the incident on Facebook, warning mothers to be careful about being out there with their babies alone.

Exom warns that mothers should avoid going anywhere alone and keep an eye out for any strangers. If you are alone, she recommends that you don't stay silent and to say something if you see something suspicious.

Dotson is charged with criminal attempt to commit kidnapping along with multiple other charges.


A 45-year-old man is behind bars for attempted kidnapping after police say he walked up to a woman in Valdosta and tried to pull her baby away from her.

According to the Valdosta Police Department, officers responded to reports of an attempted kidnapping in the 300 block of Norman Drive on Dec. 5.

The victim told officers that a man walked up and grabbed her infant son by the arm while she was holding him.

Police say the suspect tried to pull the child away from the mother but was unsuccessful. No injuries were reported during the attempted kidnapping.

Not long after the incident, officers found the suspect, 45-year-old Harry Dotson, nearby and detained him.

Dotson was described as being intoxicated and uncooperative, according to police.

He was transported to the Lowndes County Jail on the following charges:

  • Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony (Kidnapping) (Felony)
  • Public Drunkenness (Misdemeanor)
  • Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officer (Misdemeanor)
  • Simple Battery (Misdemeanor)