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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Man charged in kidnapping case

  • A Corning man has been arrested on two felony charges for allegedly aiding a Steuben County woman who police say kidnapped a young mother and her baby at knifepoint last month in Pennsylvania.

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  • A Corning man has been arrested on two felony charges for allegedly aiding a Steuben County woman who police say kidnapped a young mother and her baby at knifepoint last month in Pennsylvania.
    Robert J. Bavisotto, 64, of Decatur Street, is accused of giving Billie Jo Ribble a ride and hiding her at his house after she allegedly escaped police custody and kidnapped a mother and daughter March 1. Prior to helping Ribble, Bavisotto was told she was wanted by police, according to the Steuben County Sheriff ’s Office.
    Bavisotto was recently indicted by a Steuben County grand jury on two charges of second-degree hindering prosecution, a class E felony. He turned himself into authorities Wednesday and was ordered jailed on $20,000 cash bail.
    The events began March 1, when Ribble was arrested near Mansfield, Pa. She had been wanted for month on charges she burglarized a Town of Howard residence and stole $12,000 worth of property, including 15 guns.
    After she was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State Police and Steuben County sheriff’s investigators, who had received a tip as to her whereabouts, Ribble, who is pregnant, complained of stomach pain and was taken to a Wellsboro, Pa., hospital. While there, she allegedly attacked the corrections officer guarding her and escaped the hospital.
    Later, Ribble broke into a Wellsboro residence and armed herself with a large butcher knife, authorities said. A 19-year-old woman and her 6-month-old daughter were sleeping in the residence, and the mother woke up to find Ribble standing over the infant’s crib with the knife, authorities said.
    Ribble allegedly threatened to kill the baby, the mother and herself if the 19-year-old did not give Ribble a ride. The mother agreed to drive Ribble to New York. During the drive, Ribble held the baby and the knife, authorities said.
    While en route to New York, Ribble used the woman’s cell phone to arrange a pickup along U.S. Highway 15 in Lindley. After arriving at the pickup site, Ribble took the battery out of the victim’s cell phone so she couldn’t call police, authorities said. After the victim was released unharmed, she drove to a gas station in Pennsylvania and called police.
    Bavisotto is accused of meeting Ribble at the pickup site in Lindley and driving her back to his Decatur Street home, where police tracked Ribble early March 2. Ribble barricaded herself inside the home’s attic, but she eventually surrendered without incident, police said.
    The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Ribble was apprehended at her boyfriend’s home, but The Leader was unable to confirm whether Ribble, 35, and Bavisotto were dating.
    Ribble, a former standout basketball player in the 1990s at Campbell-Savona and Alfred State, faces federal kidnapping charges. If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison.
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