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Man arrested on rape, kidnapping charges

A 46-year-old Thomson man has been taken into custody by local authorities on sexual assault charges.

Maurice Norris, of the 900 block of Kennedy Circle, was arrested early Sunday on charges of rape, aggravated assault and kidnapping, according to records filed at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center. Mr. Norris still was being held in the county jail on Monday.

Gary Nicholson, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson, said the case had been turned over to them by the Thomson Police Department.

Special Agent Charles Kicklighter has been assigned to investigate the case.

Part of the crime occurred within the city limits, while the other part occurred in the county, Agent Nicholson said.

"This was not a stranger-to-stranger crime," Agent Nicholson added.

"These two people knew each other."

The suspect reportedly chased a 22-year-old woman from a residence on the 900 block of Kennedy Circle in Thomson with a knife about 11:10 p.m. last Saturday night, according to a statement made by Johnny Gaye to Thomson Police Officer Clay Hammond.

The victim reportedly was caught and then dragged behind the residence, according to the witness's statement to police.

Officer Hammond and Officer Adam Dye checked behind the residence, but were did not see anyone.

As Officer Hammond was working up a report about the crime, family members began to show up at the residence.

At least one told police that the victim and her assailant had gone behind a church on Hoey Street.

Officer Dye found the victim behind the church.

The victim told Officer Dye that she had been dragged there and raped.

Attempts to locate the assailant by police proved fruitless.

Since the church is located in the county where the rape was reported, police summoned for the assistance of Deputy Brett Bentley, of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department. Deputy Bentley transported the victim to the emergency room of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson.

Late Sunday, the suspect returned to the residence where the crime began.

Police were called again. When Officer Hammond and Officer Dye arrived, the suspect -- later identified as Mr. Norris, "immediately fled on foot."

The officers gave chase and apprehended him behind the same church where the rape reportedly occurred.

Web posted on Thursday, March 11, 2010

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