CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County man was taken into custody Monday afternoon after allegedly stealing a car with a 9-month-old baby in the backseat.

Charleston Police Department Lt. Shawn Williams said Chris Linville, 20, of Elkview, took the unlocked car from a One Stop parking lot near the state capitol at 1:30 p.m. The baby’s mother had gone into the convenience store to get a cup of coffee.

Williams said every officer on duty along with police officers from other agencies began searching for the stolen car. Williams told MetroNews a short time later they found the car and the baby.

“We had an off-duty officer who was listening to the radio, you guys put that information out, he drove up on the car on Wertz Avenue. The baby was inside, found unharmed. He secured the baby, notified 911 and officers responded to that area,” Lt. Williams said.

Several police agencies and K-9 units tracked Linville down a few minutes later in a nearby apartment complex.

“We set up a perimeter and with the help of the State Police and our K-9s we were able to find him,” Williams said.

Linville was charged with grand larceny, abduction and felony child neglect. He was arraigned and lodged in the South Central Regional Jail on $250,000 cash only bail.

Police weren’t initially sure if Linville knew the baby was inside the car when he took it.

“I would venture to say that he probably did not when he first took the car. And the fact that he abandoned the car with the baby inside that he probably did know (at that time), but we’ll see what he has to say,” Williams said.

Police were very concerned with the situation given temperatures were in the single digits when the incident occurred.

Police said the mother had the car in her view while in the convenience store. Lt. Williams said the situation had a very fortunate ending for the mother and child.

“In today’s day and age you can’t be too safe especially with your children,” Williams said. “You can’t leave them unattended.”


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    Mommy should also be charged with child endangering.

  • jason

    Really people.....who out there reading this is older than 30...who rode a bike without a helmet...who drank from a garden hose... who hasn't filled up there gas tank and didn't get back in their car with sub zero temps.....? I could go on and on. It wasn't all that uncommon for a parent (my parents even) to leave me in the car when I was very young to run a quick errand. She's not a criminal, and who knows....she may be a great mom...probably even a really good person. Look at yourselves. Don't be the first to cast a stone in a glass house!

    • Steve


      What this article does not tell you, but has been reported elsewhere, is that the baby was found in the car and it WAS NOT RUNNING!

      In other words, there was NO HEAT in that car when the off duty policeman found it!! Had he not found that baby when he did, that poor baby would have frozen to death.

      And you are defending this "mother"????

    • Steve

      Really? Comparing today's world to when you were a child?

      Must be an irresponsible parent yourself.

      • John

        Jason, I am living in a glass house and I am over 40. We didn't have a convenience store, meth, cocaine, OxyContin, and I didn't think a cup of coffee was more important than a baby. I assume she even left the car running with windows rolled up tightly. Carbon Monoxide could have easily killed the baby...YOU THINK????

        • jason

          john, you didn't have illegal mind bending drugs....weed, lsd, mushrooms, acid....? If she would have left the window down there would have been a draft. Like I keep saying, this kid was going to steal a car anyway. Thank God that no one was hurt. The mother, I don't believe, isn't a criminal. Is she a young mother? How was she raised? Where were 'you' to help form her mothering skills. I don't have a dog in this fight, but my goodness has our legal system failed us... maybe just our govt in general.

          • jason

            hey malldog..this has been enlighting. I can't argue with you anymore. Be afraid and blame someone else....great mantra.

          • mauldawg

            Once again every time you open your 10 year old mouth, (you cant be much older) you just show how stupid you are.

      • jason

        We don't know enough about this situation. Maybe she is a single mother. Maybe she needed a 5 minute break. Maybe she is like the millions out there who would have done the same thing.. You want to talk about neglect...or criminal. What about the parents that buy video games or let there children to the same, ones that are rated M for mature when they are mere children. Fighting, killing, sex, drug usage...where do I stop. Irresponsible. Criminal.

        • mauldawg

          She had her eyes in a clear line of site. What good did that do. Once again I hope you don't/ever have children.

        • Steve

          We are not talking about other parents. We are talking about THIS parent.

          And this irresponsible parent left her 9 month old baby in a running car in a crime infested neighborhood while the temperatures were near record lows.

          Try to spin it any way you want, but what this woman did was very irrresponsible and, at the very minimum, borderline criminal.

          She is damn lucky this child was found by the off duty police officer when it was, or it would have frozen to death.

          People like you who refuse to hold people responsible for their actions is a huge part of why parents like this one act they way they do.

          Go back to bed.

          • jason

            By all means hold criminals responsible for their crimes. How about this, we have ALL failed our children, assuming you have any, and come up short with teaching and raising a loving at HOME. Lets punish Linville and his family...oh well they have been punished... or have they? What ever is being done doesn't seem to be working. They're probably a product of our welfare system and all we do as a society is enable.

            People are screaming irresponsibility! Carbon monoxide poisoning. Record cold temps. When she left that child, it was in a warm car in an open parking lot. OK, take the child out into the frigid air, slip, fall, on and on and on. Look, she was carjacked by a criminal. That baby is lucky to still have it's mother. People on drugs are irrational and this could have turned out like so many shootings/stabbings. Sure, I pose a lot of could haves and what ifs, but tell me now that YOU have never done something irresponsibile with your just haven't had anything bad happen. You just haven't been caught, are you criminal?

          • Jason412

            And there's a HUGE difference between "living in fear" and not being an idiot and taking some simple precautions.

            I lock my doors, even during daylight. But I currently own no guns, but because of money issues not because I'm against owning them. Locking the doors is a habit from living in the inner city, now that I'm back in WV I do it anyways just as a precaution not because I think someone is going to break into my house at 12:30 in the afternoon.

            Leaving your child in a convenience store parking lot in the middle of winter, in an unlocked car, keys in the ignition, is far beyond "not living in fear" it's so stupid that by law it is a criminal act(in most cases)

            Not leaving your child open to be kidnapped is not living in fear.

          • Jason412

            Wow jason, that's the dumbest thing I've heard all day. Actually, so far this year.

            Maybe she "needed a 5 minute break" Are you serious? Yeah buying an adult rated video game is way more serious then putting your child in the perfect situation to be kidnapped. Luckily the meth head abandoned the car, not dumped the baby on the street which is what usually happens in this scenario, or crash the car in a police pursuit.

            If you cant be responsible for your kids, don't have them. Takes about 5 seconds to put a condom on and there are many options for women, as well as the option of just going without sex.

      • jason

        Not irresponsible..just frustrated. At least she had her child with her. Obviously there are criminals out there and yes innocent people will be victimized by them. 1 you can't live in constant fear of those people or situations and 2 it is a shame that I can't compare today's world to when I was a child. I am from WV too, actually a very "metropolitan" area and i seldom lock my doors.....but believe in the greater good in this world. Don't confuse meekness for weakness. I would be the first to protect my own, but I don't live in unnecessary fear.

        • mauldawg

          If she had her child with her,then this would not be part of the crime. She chose to leave her child unattended. She left the child in an unlocked car. What the hell was she thinking. I guess its ok leave your child alone. I hope you don't have any children. If you do,then they are not safe when they are with you.

          • jason

            Locks on doors/windows are for law-abiding folks.. He would have stolen the car anyway. I just can't see how she is criminal. Thank God Almighty the child was alright.
            And no, its not alright to leave your children alone. But she was within a short distance (from what the article said) of the vehicle, with a clear line of site. She wasn't parked out back. Try this.. have you ever dropped your kids off at the mall, skating rink, park, ball game......unattended. Its an unfortunate but unavoidable risk. If we are constantly worrying about what might or what could happen,we may as well live in a compound.

  • grif

    The mother should be charged with negligence or something. You cant arrest her for being STUPID. You NEVER, NEVER leave kids in a car. I hope she enjoyed her coffee

    • mark

      oh thats just great! Charge the mother take her child! That will probably fix everything. Give me a break! She used bad judgement but shes no criminal. I'd say as scared as she was she has learned her lesson. The real criminal is the guy that took the car, some of you people are being harder on her than on him.

      • WVULINK

        That's the problem I have with this. If she were charged with endangerment the punishment on her likely would be worse than the punishment on the guy WHO STOLE A CAR.

    • Mountain Man

      Absolutely, she should be charged!!!!

  • Chas. Shooting

    Harpers Ferry, I hope this doesn't offend anybody but when you look at this guys face you have to say OMG.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Grow up Chas. Shooting, OMG is so 2013! I am deeply offended and I'm now going to wallow in my self righteousness!

  • Larry

    Is it possible the drug addict thief and the car owner knew each other?

  • Sad Situation

    Linville's dad has been known to make meth many times and has been in prison several times and thinks it's funny, the mom has been in prison, his two brothers and his sister have all been arrested multiple times. This family are repeat offenders. Why is it that people that have no morals and that teach their children this kind of stuff can have tons of children that they destroy and some people would love to have children and raise them right? I hope this girl learns her lesson that this is not a safe world and she should not have left the baby in the car. She could have gone through a drive through to get a cup of coffee!! This child could have frozen to death or been killed by a vicious criminal. She should have some kind of punishment.

  • editerguy

    Why was the mother not arrested too? She abandoned her baby in a car. Yes, it was just for a minute, and she had the car in view, but it was still leaving her baby out there in an unlocked car, probably with the keys in the ignition and the engine running. This kid was looking for a car and not a baby, but anyone looking to steal an infant--and those people exist, much as we hate to believe it--would have been far away by now with the easiest score they could want. Arrest the mom, give her probation with mandatory parenting classes, send a warning to other parents who might be thinking "It's just for a minute, it'll be okay."

    • Sad Situation

      I totally agree!!

  • The dude who made comment

    Meth pock marks

  • Ron Jeremy

    Wow -- what parent leaves an infant in an unlocked car in a c-store parking lot? It is bad enough she left the infant alone -- but in an unlocked care? Wow -- Wow - Wow ----- shouldn't she be charged with child endangerment ???

    Is that acne on that kid or is he a meth head and a picker???

    • Steve

      Not only in running, parked car, but in a crime infested neighborhood!

  • Jim N Charleston

    Get Proactive or Clearasil

    • Harpers Ferry

      Wow, real mature of you. Stop being so heartless and recommend Noxzema. Everyone knows it works the best!

      • Gilbert Gnarley

        We use to use "Hickey-Off Pimple Pads by Brillo" back in the late 60s, early 70s.

  • Larry

    As always, beware the neck tatt, they scream I am unhireable and extremely sketchy!

  • BAC

    Why isn't the parent being charged for leaving a child in a car like that?

    • Steve

      You can't forget what type of neighborhood this is. This is a crime infested part of the city.

    • northforkfisher

      She should be guilty of child neglect for leaving the baby. If she does in the cold, she is probably guarantee to do it in the heat of summer.

      • Sad Situation

        Totally agree!!

  • Larry

    He looks like your standard run of the mill druggie, by the way, if you've never been on Wertz Ave, be thankful.

  • richard

    thank god.

    • Sad Situation


  • wvumounties8

    Wow, what an blessing that the child and car was found unharmed and safe. But why did the parent leave that child in the car in first place. I blame parent ad much as thief. In this weather, it could have been a tremendous tragedy .

    • Sad Situation