Suspect goes back to court

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Preliminary hearing set in attempted child abduction case



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A Plantersville man charged with the attempted abduction of a 10-year-old girl from a bus stop is scheduled to be in court Thursday.

The case of Joe Earl &8220;Puddin&8221; Edwards is set for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Robert Armstrong. Edwards, who is a convicted sex offender, could have his case bound over to a Dallas County Grand Jury if sufficient evidence is found.

Edwards, 52, is charged with enticing a child for immoral purposes. He has remained in the Dallas County Jail on $500,000 bond since his Aug. 23 arrest. Armstrong told Edwards he thought he was &8220;a danger to society.&8221;

Edwards served about a year in jail following his 1994 arrest and conviction of sexual assault involving a 10-year-old relative. He has since been registered as a sex offender, which is required by law.

Prior to Edwards’ bond hearing, Selma attorney Blanchard McLeod was appointed to serve as legal counsel.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department received a call after 7 a.m. from the child’s mother who reported the man got out of his vehicle and chased the girl. He was captured minutes later after deputies stopped his vehicle, which fit the description, realizing the description fit the driver.

The child was alone at her school bus stop on County Road 63. The youth told deputies the man &8220;in a little red car&8221; pulled up and got out.

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman said they forwarded information gathered in the investigation to the Selma Police Department, which is investigating the alleged attempted abduction of a 9-year-old boy the previous week on Montague Street. Authorities said they do not know if Edwards is connected with that incident.

The speculation prompted one parent to research every sex offender on record to determine if any lived too close to area schools.