The woman who was kidnapped from a local convenience store and then raped, allegedly by a white supremacist, is black, according to the arrest report.
Joshua Edwards is a member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang, the sheriff’s office revealed at a news conference on Tuesday.
News 5 has reached out to investigators and prosecutors to see if they believe the attack may have been racially motivated.
The Aryan Brotherhood is a “violent white supremacist gang” that was first organized in the California prison system in the 1960s, according to the FBI.
Edwards made his first court appearance in the case on Wednesday. The judge set his bond at $6 million and scheduled his next appearance for April 11.
The arrest report says Edwards abducted the woman Monday night while she was pumping gas at the Circle K at Jackson Street and New Warrington Road. The report says Edwards pulled out a 9mm pistol and “told her to get in the car and stay quiet.”
The victim told deputies that Edwards held a gun to her and made her drive. At times during the alleged abduction, the report says Edwards changed places with the victim and drove her into Lillian, Alabama and then back into Escambia County.
The report says Edwards was doing Ecstasy during the drive. The report also says he held a gun to the victim’s head and forced her to take narcotics.
The victim says Edwards took her to Bill Dixon Park Tuesday morning and raped her repeatedly at gunpoint.
At one point while at the park, the victim says Edwards tried to drive the car through a wooded area, but the car stopped working.
The report says Edwards then made the victim walk with him as they looked for another vehicle.
The two walked to Fenceline Road, where the report says Edwards approached a second woman outside her home and told her he needed a ride to the store because his car had broken down at the park.
The report says Edwards pulled out the gun and ordered the woman to hand over her keys. He then drove off, leaving the two women together.
The second carjacking victim let the other woman into her home, where they called 911.
News 5 spoke to the mother of the second carjacking victim Tuesday night. Mary Staples described the conversation they had with the woman who had been raped.
“She was pretty controlled until she stepped inside and then she fell apart and cried for about 45 minutes hardly able to speak,” Staples said. “She said that he had raped her and that he had taken her car.”
A few hours after the abductions were reported, deputies captured Edwards behind a shopping center near the Walmart on Blue Angel Parkway. The arrest report says deputies found a Kel-Tec 9mm pistol in the area where they arrested Edwards.
Edwards is charged with sexual battery, two counts of carjacking, armed kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during a felony.
Records show that Edwards was released from prison in November after serving more than three years for crimes in Santa Rosa County that included burglary and grand theft. Edwards has also been arrested twice on theft charges in Mobile County.