Woman pleads not guilty to kidnapping child

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A woman has pleaded not guilty to federal charges accusing her of leading a scheme to kidnap a 6-year-old girl from an east Mississippi elementary school.

Jesse Mae Brown Pollard pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson. Pollard is one of seven people charged in an alleged scheme to kidnap the girl to pressure the child’s mother in a land dispute.

The child was taken from East Kemper Elementary School around noon April 30. She turned up unharmed on a rural road in Enterprise the next day. Court papers say the child was released and knocked on a resident’s door.

Among those named in the indictment is Pollard’s son, Devonta Pollard, a former basketball player at the University of Alabama.

One of the women charged in the scheme, Wanda Dancy, was a secretary at the school, and authorities say she told investigators that she directed Jesse Pollard to exactly where the child could be found.

Federal authorities say another woman, Shamarius Ruffin, went into the school to retrieve the girl at Jesse Pollard’s request.

Investigators said Jesse Pollard took the victim to Alabama, where she spent the night of April 30 in a hotel with another female. After an alert was issued, the girl was dropped off, unharmed, on the side of a road in Enterprise, Miss., the next morning.

Authorities say Jesse Pollard is the cousin of the child’s mother.

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