Fort Smith Sex Offender Kidnaps Woman, Sexually Assaults Her, Police Say

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A Fort Smith sex offender was arrested Tuesday (June 24) on suspicion of kidnapping and aggravated robbery, according to a news release from the Fort Smith Police Department.

Ardwin Frank Sylvester, 37, was arrested after police say he forced a 54-year-old Van Buren woman into her car at gunpoint and kidnapped her. The incident occurred in the Staples parking lot located in the 5700 block of Rogers Avenue, the release states.

The victim told police that at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the suspect drove her toward Mena, and while refueling at an EZ-Mart in Ashdown, he sexually assaulted her. Afterwards, while still at the gas station, the victim fled from the vehicle telling anyone that could hear her to call 911 because she had been kidnapped, according to the release.

Sylvester sped off in her car and led Arkansas State Police on a chase. During the chase, Sylvester threw a semi-automatic handgun from the window. Following the pursuit, he was taken into custody, the release states.

Sylvester was arrested and faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery, rape and felon in possession of a firearm. His bond has been set at $250,000, according to the release.

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