EL PASO - A Lumpkin County man was arrested over the weekend in Texas on charges of aggravated kidnapping.
It began last week when Wano McSwain, 26, and Jimmy Hardy, 78, met while staying at a Dahlonega hotel. McSwain offered Hardy money for a ride to Alabama.
Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office spokesman Wesley Burnett said something happened after the two men left Dahlonega. "At some point...leaving Lumpkin County the incident became involuntary from Mr. Hardy's behalf and turned into a kidnapping incident."
According to Texas authorities, McSwain forced Hardy to drive him to California after he grabbed Hardy's car keys and cell phone, and threatened to kill him with a handgun he held on his lap as he drove Hardy's vehicle across several states.
Burnett said his department initially became involved in the case when they heard McSwain had possession of a stolen hand gun.
McSwain and Hardy had departed the hotel before Lumpkin authorities arrived according to Burnett. "A lookout was placed on...Hardy's car," Burnett said.
While stopping for gas near El Paso, Hardy was able to get the convenience store clerk to call 9-1-1.
Responding deputies found McSwain hiding in nearby bushes with a small caliber hand gun.
McSwain is being held in the El Paso County jail.
Jimmy Hardy was taken to an area hospital to be treated for symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition.
Burnett says Lumpkin County plans to extradite McSwain on charges of theft by taking in regards to the firearm that he had in his possession when arrested in Texas. He added that the kidnapping charges will depend upon their exact location when McSwain first forced Hardy to continue to California.