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Wanted Butte County Man Arrested on Kidnapping, Rape Charges in Oregon

A wanted Butte County man has been arrested on kidnap and rape charges in Oregon.

Posted: Jan 24, 2019 3:42 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2019 4:54 PM

TOLEDO, Ore. - A wanted Butte County man has been arrested on kidnap and rape charges in Oregon.

Lawson Rankin, 35, is behind bars in Toledo Oregon, charged with abducting and raping a woman and holding her against her will. 

The arrest stemmed from a traffic stop in Newport, OR., on Jan. 17. Rankin was the passenger in the vehicle and walked away from the scene. At the time of the stop, officers did now have a lawful reason to detain him. 

However, they made contact with the driver of the vehicle who they discovered was a missing and endangered person out of California. 

The Newport Police Department initiated a criminal investigation, which revealed that the missing person was held against her will for an extended period of time by Rankin and then transported from California to Oregon. 

On Jan. 22, 2019, the Newport Police Department obtained an indictment warrant charging Rankin with counts, some include:

  • Kidnapping in the first degree

  • Assault in the second and fourth degree

  • Endangering a person protected a family abuse prevention act restraining order

  • Causing another person to ingest a controlled substance

On Jan. 23, 2019, Rankin was located in Toledo, OR., and taken into custody with the help of the U.S. Marshals and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. 

Prior to the arrest on Jan. 23, 2019, Rankin was also convicted in 2013 for sexually assaulting and holding his ex-wife against her will in the attic of their home in Oroville. A friend of Rankin's told authorities that she wanted to be in the attic and that she could have left at any time.

Public records show that the woman divorced Rankin in 2010 and took out a restraining order to prevent domestic violence by her ex-husband, who is a registered sex offender. He served three years for that crime. 

Rankin was also arrested in April of 2018 in Concow on charges of false imprisonment and domestic violence. 

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said deputies rescued the victim after she texted her mother that she was being held against her will. 

Rankin has been wanted in Butte County after failing to appear in court for that crime. 

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