Friend of Valdosta Kidnapping Suspects Speaks Out

Michael McCormick and David Stapp
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By: Symone Davis
August 21, 2015

VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Michael McCormick and David Stapp are still behind bars at Lowndes County Jail being held without bond.

Investigators say a week ago the two traveled from Mississippi to Valdosta and tried to take McCormick’s daughter from school.

They're accused of grabbing the five year old from the playground and pushing down a teacher who confronted them.

McCormick’s longtime friend Adam Malson believes it's a custody dispute gone horribly wrong.

"He is a loving father and he came to get his daughter. The custody battle I’m sure is going to ensue,” said McCormick.

Malson said there have been ongoing issues between McCormick and the mother of his daughter who recently moved from Mississippi to Valdosta.

Now we did reach out to Lowndes County Sheriff's Office and authorities tell us that they are in fact aware of the backstory to this case. However they still have to hold McCormick accountable for his actions.

That’s one of the issues we're looking at with this being a custody issue. But anytime you go onto school grounds and take a child without going through the proper process, it's certainly going to raise flags and create an alarm which it did in this case,” said Lt. Stryde Jones of Lowndes Sheriff’s Office.

Malson respects the law and said the matter will be resolved in court.
He's asking that his friends at least be allowed out of jail in the meantime.

"The court will obviously decide all this. We just want Mike and Stapp to get out of jail, just a bond hearing. That's all we want," said Malson.

News Release: Lowndes County Sheriff's Office
August 14, 2015

VALDOSTA, Ga. -- On Friday afternoon, around 2:15 two adults walked onto the property at Westside Elementary School and snatched a 5-year-old child from the playground. The teacher, seeing what was taking place rushed to intervene and was pushed down as the pair took the child and left the school grounds. The teacher immediately notified the School Resource Officer, a Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and was also able to obtain the tag from the vehicle the two males the child left in. A BOLO {Be On the Look Out} was immediately dispatched to not only Sheriff’s Office deputies but to regional law enforcement. Deputies and detective immediately began with the protocols in place and approximately 10 minutes later a deputy on Madison Highway observed the vehicle near the Valdosta Regional Airport. Several deputies initiated a traffic stop and the child was safely recovered from the vehicle. The two adults, Michael Ray McCormick and David Scott Stapp were arrested without incident.

During the ensuing investigation, investigators learned that Michael McCormick is the non-custodial parent of the child and traveled to Valdosta from Ocean Springs, Mississippi via airplane. McCormick and Stapp landed at the Valdosta Regional Airport and then rented a vehicle locally. Investigators are continuing to follow leads and the child has been reunited with her mother.

Both McCormick and Stapp were taken to the Lowndes County Jail and charged with the offenses listed. A bond will be considered when they appear in the Lowndes County Magistrate Court in the near future.

Sheriff Prine relayed this was an excellent example of the value of the partnership between Lowndes County Schools and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office which places a school resource officer in every county school. “The quick actions of both the teacher and the school resource officer are no doubt what led to the quick recovery of this child. This is great work by everyone involved!”

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office can be contacted at {229} 671-2950 or anonymous tips can be provided at {229} 671-2985 or online at

33-year-old Michael McCormick of Mississippi is facing charges of kidnapping, simple battery on a school official, and disruption of a school.

36-year-old David Stapp of Mississippi was an accomplice to the crime and is also facing charges.

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