Court records show man has abduction record

MANASSAS — The city man charged with abducting and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl last week was charged with kidnapping a 15-year-old girl in 1988, and spent six months in jail, court records show.

Franklin T. Ritenour, 48, of 9751 Mock Orange Court, was arrested in August 1988 for abducting a 15-year-old girl in his Manassas home, where he tried to force her to smoke crack cocaine, according to Prince William Circuit Court records.

The victim, a friend of Ritenours 12-year-old daughter, was called to Ritenours former home in Georgetown South. Ritenour invited the girl upstairs to his bedroom, locked the door and offered her $65 to smoke crack, court records state.

The girl declined, and when she tried to leave, Ritenour pushed her away from the door. She was able to escape the room on her third attempt and called police.

Ritenour was charged with abduction, a felony, but was allowed to plead guilty on Feb. 21, 1989, in Prince William Circuit Court to assault and battery, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to six months in jail.

Saturday, Ritenour was arrested after kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl while they played soccer near the Promenade Manassas Shopping Center on Streamwalk Lane, according to search warrants filed in court Monday.

Ritenour drove the girl to a wooded area on Wellington Road where he tried to rape her, according to the warrants. The girl told police he penetrated her vagina with his fingers.

Police found a crack smoking device, lollipops and gum packs in Ritenours 1998 GMC pickup truck.

Assistant Commonwealths Attorney Sandra R. Sylvester, who is prosecuting Ritenour for the new charges, was surprised to hear that the 48-year-old had previously assaulted a minor.

“But this just makes our case that much more definitive,” Sylvester said Friday.

Ritenour, being held at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail, faces charges of object sexual penetration, attempted rape, abduction with intent to defile, and possession of cocaine.

After comparing Ritenours case to the unsolved murders of three Spotsylvania area girls in the late 1990s, investigators have found no link, Spotsylvania police Maj. Howard Smith said Friday.

Despite a similarity in the cases, Ritenour does not appear to be involved in the murders of Kristin and Kati Lisk and Sofia Silva, which remain unsolved nearly five years after the killings, he said.

“Were treating this no differently than the other 12,000 leads gotten on this case,” Smith said. “Ill stress this: he is not a prime suspect. The cases look like they could be connected, but when we started to scratch away, we found that they were not connected.”

Silva and the Lisk girls were molested and killed in two incidents over eight months in 1996 and 1997, which police believe are connected.

When Spotsylvania Sheriffs Office investigators heard of Ritenours arrest last week, red flags shot up.

“We wouldnt be doing our job if we didnt look into people like this,” Smith said.

Ritenour came under suspicion for his white GMC pickup truck.

When the Lisk girls were taken from their front yard on May 1, 1997, police said that a suspicious white car had been in the neighborhood.

But when it was learned that Ritenours car was a 1998 model, the lead proved to be a dead-end, said Prince William County Police Lt. John Collier.

“But this was good police work on their part,” Collier said. “Regionally, from Southern Maryland to Southern Virginia, they look at any abduction case. If [kidnappers] do not get caught, they usually keep doing it. Its sort of a disorder. Its a great thing that we have caught [Ritenour].”

Prince William Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said Friday that his force will continue to help Spotsylvanias investigation.

“Weve had a lot of interaction with them over the years with cases that have some similarities,” Deane said. “These are the type of leads that they will be following until the case is solved.”

Silva, then 16, disappeared from her front yard while doing homework on Sept. 9, 1996, and her body was found in King George County on Oct. 14 of that year. The Lisk sisters bodies were found in Hanover County five days after the girls disappeared.

Staff writer Patrick Wilson contributed to this report.

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