Man in church van charged with I-59 rape after tri-state crime s - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Man in church van charged with I-59 rape after tri-state crime spree

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A man accused of raping a stranded motorist on the side of I-59 in Jefferson County last month was arrested in Georgia.
Malachi Josephus Moody, 21, is charged with rape and sodomy after the Jefferson Sheriff’s Office says he assaulted a stranded motorist in Jefferson County last month.  

On the morning of April 23, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says Moody was traveling in a church van on I-59 when he stopped to help a woman whose vehicle had broken down. Authorities say, thinking this was someone she could trust, the stranded motorist got inside the van; that’s where authorities say Moody sexually assaulted the 34-year-old woman.

After sharing the suspect’s information with other law enforcement agencies, the Sheriff’s Office learned the incident in Jefferson County was part of a crime spree across the Southeast.

"We immediately got a hit that the van this criminal was using was stolen from Mississippi the previous day,” explained Sheriff Hale. “And then, we got some information back from Cobb County (Georgia) that this van and this person, he had robbed somebody over there. They chased him over there and they arrested him."

Sheriff Hale says they were able to track down all this information thanks to the resources of the Regional Organized Crime Information Center a database that’s used by law enforcement agencies across the southeast.

"Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, heck, we communicated just like we were sister cities in this jurisdiction. It really shrunk the size of the jurisdiction,” Sheriff Hale expressed.  

In addition to charges in Jefferson County, Moody also faces criminal charges in Mississippi and Georgia. Sheriff Hale says Moody could be connected to other crimes in the area.

Moody is currently in custody in Cobb County, Georgia. He will extradited back to Jefferson County once he is released.

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