2nd arrest made in Pee Dee Amber Alert case

Kimberly Steen
Kimberly Steen
Johnathen Smith
Johnathen Smith

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - A second suspect at the center of an AMBER Alert issued in Hartsville on Wednesday has been arrested in Bishopville, according to the Darlington County Sheriff's Office.

Johnathen Smith, 29, was detained by deputies in Darlington County after eluding authorities Thursday morning  at a home on Berry Road in Bishopville. Smith's escape prompted a manhunt by the Darlington County Bloodhound Team in a wooded area in close proximity to the home.

Deputies were able to apprehend Smith in Bishopville just before 1 p.m.

"It wasn't no kidnapping," Smith said as he was being arrested. "The woman is my girlfriend. I've known her for 12 years. I'd help take care of the kids. She called me and said she wanted to chill with me. I gave her a ride [and] she brought the baby with her."

Capt. Andy Locklair, spokesman for the agency, said deputies apprehended Kimberly Steen, 25, after receiving an anonymous tip leading to her location earlier Thursday morning. Locklair said Steen was arrested at a home on Berry Road in Bishopville.

Both Smith and Steen are wanted on kidnapping charges in connection to the disappearance of Justice Alexandra Deaja Peterson, 5, of Hartsville. Peterson's grandmother reported the child missing from her home at 2459 Sampit Dr. at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The grandmother claimed Peterson was taken by Steen, her biological mother. Steen, according to officials, did not have custodial rights of the 5-year-old.

The conditions on which Peterson was abducted prompted the State Law Enforcement Division to issue a statewide AMBER Alert early Wednesday afternoon. Hours after the statewide alert, a relative of Smith dropped the 5-year-old off at the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

It is unknown if both Smith and Steen will face any additional charges in connection to the case.