Reward Led to Capture of Kidnapper, Authorities SayAP , Associated Press
Jul. 12, 1985 8:49 AM ET
BLOSSOM, TEXAS BLOSSOM, Texas (AP) _ After escaping from a county jail and eluding authorities for a week, a convicted kidnapper was captured in his parents' hometown with the help of a $2,000 reward offered by the father of his victim.
Authorities tracked James Wesley Foote down Thursday after being tipped that he was hiding in a house in this community outside Paris, about 150 miles northeast of the Johnson County Jail in Cleburne, Lamar County Sheriff's Lt. Jerry Robbins said.
Foote had escaped from the jail July 4 by scaling a fence during an exercise period. He had been sentenced to life in prison for his part in the January kidnapping of 13-year-old Amy McNiel. Her ordeal ended several days later during a shootout when officials ran through gunfire to reach her.
Authorities said a $2,000 reward offered by the girl's father, Alvarado businessman Don McNiel, led to Foote's arrest. Officials said Foote had threatened revenge against the McNiel family and Johnson County authorities.
McNiel said the reward would be paid to the tipster, who was not identified.
''I'm relieved,'' Miss McNiel said Thursday. ''We've had a guard outside all the time, and I haven't been able to go anywhere since all this started.''
Foote, 34, was wearing only drawstring trousers and was covered with chigger bites when he was arrested, officials said. He told authorities he was on his way to see his parents, Robbins said.
As he was led to the Lamar County jail, Foote told The Paris News that revenge against the McNiels ''never entered my mind.''
''If it had of, I would never have been up here. I should have been down there,'' he said, referring to Alvarado.
Foote was returned to Cleburne on Thursday afternoon, and Johnson County Sheriff Eddie Boggs said he would be transferred today back to the Texas Department of Corrections.
Foote had already begun serving prison time for the kidnapping, but was taken to the Johnson County Jail to be interviewed about his possible involvement in additional crimes, including the recent slaying of a woman in the Fort Worth suburb of Colleyville.
Foote said he escaped because of fear that he would be linked with that killing, which he said he did not commit. He said he slept most nights in woods, he said.
Robbins said Foote was arrested ''without any incident. There was no one else in the house.''
Lamar County Sheriff Jim Parker said officials surrounded the house, entered through an unlocked door, and found Foote in a bedroom. ''When we opened the door, he had his hands stretched in the air,'' Parker said.