NORTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Lawyers for a Brockton man charged in connection with the disappearance of a young girl in Norton last week said their client only wanted to help the girl.
Avery Howard, 32, pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and assault and battery during his arraignment Tuesday morning. The judge set bail at $2,000 and ordered Howard to wear a GPS tracker. He was also ordered to have no contact with the girl’s family.
Police spent hours on Friday searching for the 6-year-old girl after she was reported missing at about 12:15 p.m. They believe she left home alone with a suitcase after a dispute.
Just before 2 p.m., police said they received two credible reports from witnesses who said they saw the child talking to a man in a black car with tinted windows. The girl was found about three hours later sitting in the front seat of the suspect’s car.
During the arraignment, the defense said Howard has special needs and didn’t call police because he “doesn’t think like that.”
The girl did not appear to be hurt, according to police, and she’s since been reunited with her family.