To the dismay of his crowd of supporters, Gainesville resident Christopher Thomas Ray - who appeared in Gwinnett Superior Court Thursday on felony kidnapping charges - was denied bond.
"Frankly, the charges against you cause a great deal of concern for this court," said Gwinnett County Chief Magistrate Court Judge George Hutchinson, who presided over the bond hearing in the absence of Superior Court Judge Tom Davis.
In addition to posing a danger to the victim and having the ability to potentially intimidate witnesses, Hutchinson said his denial of bond was also influenced by allegations of sexual inappropriateness between 28-year-old Ray and his 10-year-old kidnapping victim.
It is the policy of The Times to not report the names of victims of alleged sexual crimes.
Immediately following Hutchinson's ruling, gasps and sobs could be heard coming from the crowd of about 20 people who attended the hearing to support Ray. The assembly included neighbors, employers, relatives and family friends.
"He has the kindest, most generous, most loving of a heart of anyone I've ever known," said Tammy Ray, the defendant's mother, while testifying on Ray's behalf.
Tammy Ray also testified the group of supporters was prepared to come up with $100,000 to $150,000 in bond if it was granted.
At 10:15 p.m. on Aug. 30, the Gwinnett County Police Department responded to a Lawrenceville home, following a report from a 12-year-old resident of the home who said a male had inappropriately touched him and his 10-year-old brother. While officers were investigating that incident, it was discovered that the 10-year-old was missing.
Officers determined the 10-year-old had been missing since around 4 p.m. that day when he left a friend's home and never returned. During initial conversations with officers, Ray's name was mentioned, but the victim's mother did not suspect the boy was with Ray.
According to Detective Gerald Leak of the Gwinnett police department, officers called Ray, who claimed to not have had any contact with boy since Aug. 29.
Upon searching the juvenile's cell phone records, investigators discovered Ray's number was the last to appear on the phone's call log. That call was placed at 3:46 p.m., minutes after the boy left his friend's house unexpectedly on Aug. 30.
While searching Ray's phone, authorities found a picture of the 10-year-old in the shower, Leak testified.
Following extensive searches and interviews, Hall County Sheriff's deputies found the boy on Aug. 31 - a day after he disappeared - hiding in the attic of Ray's Gainesville home. The discovery put Ray - who had been a friend of the boy's family for the last five years - in violation of an order of the Gwinnett County Juvenile Court.
During the course of an investigation of the 10-year-old's family by the Department of Family and Children Services, the court found the relationship between Ray and the juvenile to be "unusual," Leak said.
Over the course of several years, Ray has purchased braces, a cell phone, video gaming systems and other items for the juvenile.
According to Leak, on Aug. 23 the juvenile court ordered Ray to not have further contact with the 10-year-old or his two siblings.
Since bail was denied, Ray will continue to be detained at the Gwinnett County Jail.