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Child Abduction Suspect in Court, Defense Claims Medical Condition to Blame

November 30, 2012

A medical mix up, or a planned child abduction? Attorneys argued both sides during a bond hearing for 46-year-old James Kevin Key.

Prosecutors say Key grabbed a two year old trailing behind her parents at Fashion Square Mall. He got ten feet away before the child's parents caught up with him. At the time, Key told mall security he was "moving the child out of his way."

Defense attorneys say Key suffers from Absence Seizures, an illness that causes him to function irrationally and blackout. Mall security described Key as disoriented and confused as they escorted him out of the mall.

Prosecutors argue Key wasn't confused, and this was far from a mix-up. Police say Key reserved a hotel room for the weekend in Charlottesville, though he owns a home in Fluvanna County.

But family members say Key was in town for a party, and he was at the mall shopping for a shirt to wear the day the incident took place.

Mall security didn't notify police of the attempted abduction, and it wasn't until three days later when the public got its first glimpse of a suspect when police released a grainy photo from mall surveillance videos.

The tip leading to Key's arrest came from a parent of a youth softball team member who recognized the photo. Police investigated and Key turned himself in Thursday night.

Key has no criminal record and has worked as a housekeeping supervisor at UVa since 1986. He has also worked as a part time employee with Fluvanna County Parks and Recreations Department for 35 years.

The judge said he would be open to a bond review once Key's defense attorneys could provide more documentation on his medical condition.

A preliminary hearing has been set for January 7 in Albemarle County Juvenile and Domestic Court.

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