A Virginia woman has pleaded guilty to abducting a child from a church nursery while maintaining her innocence on strikingly similar charges, according to court records reviewed by Law&Crime.
Nancy Renee Fridley, 46, entered a plea in Giles County Circuit Court on charges of child abuse/neglect and abduction for the May 2, 2021, kidnapping of then-2-year-old Noah Gabriel Trout from the nursery of Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead, Va.
Sentencing for that plea is currently slated for July 26, 2022. However, Fridley’s attorney Ryan Hamrick told The Roanoke Times that no agreement over his client’s possible sentence had been reached at the time the deal was struck. In return, Commonwealth’s Attorney Bobby Lilly reportedly dropped one additional charge of attempted abduction that allegedly stemmed from an earlier visit to that same church on the day the boy was eventually abducted.
According to that report, the defense attorney said Fridley would fight two attempted abduction charges over allegations she visited the New Valley Fellowship Church and Mountain View Ministries on that same day in May. Court records in Giles County show both of those attempted abduction cases are currently set for trial later this month.
Fridley was arrested the day after Trout disappeared thanks to the efforts of a daycare employee who took a photograph of the incident, according to Roanoke-based NBC affiliate WSLS.
A nationwide search ensued. The defendant and her boyfriend Bobby Lee Taylor, 43, were charged with abduction. Police said the boy was found in the couple’s Clifton Forge, Va. residence unharmed – but with his head shaved.
According to authorities, a motive in the kidnapping first appeared elusive, Fox News reported. A narrative allegedly espoused by the defendant was that she may have had some sort of a prior relationship with the boy. Prosecutors said that idea was decidedly false, according to the Roanoke Times.
“This was a random stranger abduction,” Lilly said.
The prosecutor reportedly went on to explain that a few years back, Fridley told Taylor “that she was pregnant with his child and that baby was born while he was in jail.” Fridley allegedly went on to tell her beau that the Department of Social Services had taken custody of his child.
“This story was a complete fabrication,” Lilly said. “The evidence would show that there is no record of a newborn baby being removed from Fridley’s custody by DSS, no record of Fridley giving birth to a child during the three years prior to this abduction, nor evidence that Fridley was even pregnant during this time frame. In fact, at least one family member of Ms. Fridley states that she had a hysterectomy several years ago and would therefore have been unable to give birth to a child.”
Lilly went on to say that a Facebook friend sent Taylor information that clued him in to the fact that the boy was not, in fact, his child. The defendant’s boyfriend then demanded Trout be returned to where Fridley got him.
Taylor has since been convicted on one charge each of child abduction and drug possession after a recent plea hearing in lieu of a trial that was due to start this month. His sentencing is currently slated for Oct. 11, 2022.
[image via Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office]
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