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Middletown man allegedly threatened to kill 2-month-old in river; he's arrested after foot chase

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 2/10/20

A Middletown man faces aggravated assault and other charges after Middletown police say he strangled a woman and then drove off in the victim’s minivan with the couple’s 2-month-old …

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Middletown man allegedly threatened to kill 2-month-old in river; he's arrested after foot chase

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A Middletown man faces aggravated assault and other charges after Middletown police say he strangled a woman and then drove off in the victim’s minivan with the couple’s 2-month-old daughter inside.

The incident began at about 7 p.m. Saturday at the Sheetz on Route 230 in Lower Swatara Township, when the suspect, 30-year-old Evan Brown, began strangling the woman from behind as she was driving the 2005 gold Town and Country minivan towards Middletown, according to arrest papers borough police filed with District Judge David Judy.

Brown’s address is listed in arrest papers as an apartment in the first block of Ann Street in Middletown. Online court records said he is from Enola, however.

The woman drove to the Turkey Hill at 170 E. Main St., where, according to police, Brown continued strangling the woman.

Police say Brown then grabbed the couple’s 2-month-old — while also hitting the woman numerous times on her face and body — and “tossed” the child into the back of the minivan.

Police said Brown told the woman he would kill their child by throwing the baby in the river.

Another man tried to stop Brown, but Brown spit in his face and drove off with the baby in the car but without the woman, according to police.

Police put out an alert asking for the public’s help in locating the stolen minivan. Police units from elsewhere in Dauphin County and in Cumberland and Lancaster counties joined the search, according to arrest papers.

Inside the minivan when Brown drove off was about $400 in cash, the victim’s prescription medications, and her cellphone.

Police got the cellphone number from the victim, and used this to track the minivan to a McDonald’s parking lot on North Front Street in Harrisburg, where a city police officer approached Brown as he was walking across the lot.

As another officer stayed with the minivan to rescue the child, police from numerous agencies chased Brown on foot to Interstate 81 near the 6th Street bridge.

According to arrest papers, Brown reached into his waistband, and an officer could be heard on the county radio system yelling that Brown might be going for a gun.

Brown was then taken into custody without incident, according to police.

He was arraigned before Judy on Sunday morning and charged with strangulation, two felony counts of aggravated assault including one involving a victim younger than 13, endangering the welfare of children, theft by unlawful taking, robbery of a motor vehicle, and interfering with the custody of children.

Police said that the child had been in the woman’s custody  since Jan. 8, when Middletown police had charged Brown with possession of marijuana and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

Besides these charges, Brown was also already on probation in Lancaster County, according to arrest papers.

Brown is now being held in Dauphin County Prison on $50,000 bail, according to online court records. His preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 19 before Judy.

Police said that when the minivan was found in the McDonald’s parking lot, besides the child police also found in the vehicle David Smith, a Harrisburg man who was arrested on an outstanding warrant. He was processed and released.

Cash and a “large amount” of marijuana was found on Smith, police said.

Police found an empty pill bottle in the minivan, but none of the victim’s prescription medications.

According to arrest papers, a Susquehanna Township police officer went into the McDonald’s and brought out warm water to feed the infant, who was described as “cold and hungry.”

A Middletown police officer gave the woman $20 and a Sheetz gift card, as the minivan was on empty and she had no money, police said.

Besides Harrisburg police, area police units that assisted Middletown in the case included State Police, Lower Swatara and Swatara township police, and police from Harrisburg International Airport, according to arrest papers and a post on the Middletown borough Crimewatch site.