Authorities have issued multiple arrest warrants for a Fort Mill man accused of holding his former girlfriend against her will at gunpoint and assaulting her, according to Capt. Bryan Zachary of the Fort Mill Police Department.
As first reported Thursday on www.fortmilltimes.com, Eric Neal Patton, 24, whose last known address is listed as 111 Avery St., faces two counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, two counts of kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and pointing and presenting a firearm, Zachary said.
"We're providing this information in hopes that we will receive some assistance from the community in locating him and out of concern for the safety of the public," Zachary said. "Based on information that we've received, we have a serious concern that he may be armed."
Kidnapping carries up to a 30-year prison sentence as does criminal sexual conduct, Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson of the 16th Circuit Solicitor's Office said. If convicted on all of the charges, Patton could face up to 115 years in prison, Thompson said.
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According to Lt. Brad Redfearn of the Rock Hill Police Department, Patton also is wanted in Rock Hill for a drug-related charge and allegedly giving false information to the police department during an unrelated arrest.
Patton's Fort Mill charges stem from a series of incidents from Feb. 11 to March 26 that involved a 30-year-old Fort Mill woman, according to a report from the Fort Mill Police Department.
"They were at one time boyfriend and girlfriend," Zachary said of Patton and the woman.
The pair had been dating for approximately two to three months and met late November 2008. Patton started staying at the woman's house in January. Police contend the violence started the following month when Patton allegedly assaulted the woman at her home, the report notes.
According to the report, the couple argued at the woman's home, Patton produced a small handgun and did not let her leave the room, the report notes.
"He kept her from leaving the residence on more than one occasion," Zachary said.
The report further notes that the woman was assaulted with a cell phone, resulting in injuries to her head and a finger. The woman was reluctant to seek help from authorities for that assault and subsequent ones because "of death threats made against her and her children," according to the report.
Patton is not the father of the woman's children, Zachary said.
At some point between March 25 and March 29, another assault occurred and someone who knows the victim called police. The report notes that the woman was physically and sexually assaulted and temporarily confined against her will.
"He presented a fire arm, but he did not injure the victim with the firearm," Zachary said of the woman.
The woman, whose face was bruised, managed to leave her home for medical treatment on March 30, the report notes.
Now, police are turning to the community for help in locating Patton. Anyone with information about Patton's location is asked to call the Fort Mill Police Department at 547-2022 or Crime Stoppers of York County at 1-877-409-4321.