UNB! News New England

Man pleads not guilty to kidnapping 6-year-old girl

TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping a 6-year-old girl who police say went missing for hours before she was found in his car.

Avery Howard was arraigned Tuesday on charges of kidnapping and assault and battery. Bail was set at $2,000.

Police say witnesses had seen the girl talking to a man in a black car with tinted windows around 11:45 a.m. Friday in Easton. They say the child was reported missing just after noon and was last seen leaving her Norton home alone with a suitcase.

Police say the girl was found unharmed in Howard’s vehicle around 2:45 p.m. Howard was questioned and later arrested.

The defense says the 32-year-old Howard has special needs and was trying to help the girl get to her grandparent’s house.

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