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The Villages
Monday, June 17, 2024

Kidnapping suspect sought refuge at home of widow in The Villages

James Savage
James Savage

A kidnapping suspect sought refuge in the home of a widow where he was teargassed and returned fire on a SWAT team during a nearly 24-hour standoff in The Villages.

More details are coming to light about the trail of terror left by 54-year-old James Savage, who was initially wanted for kidnapping a woman and forcing her into a Mercedes in the Village of Monarch Grove.

During a manhunt, Marion County sheriff’s deputies knocked on a door at 7970 SE 174th Belhaven Loop in the Village of Chatham after the Mercedes was found Friday at Nancy Lopez Legacy Country Club. Deputies attempted to speak with the home’s owner, Lorraine Heroux, but she turned them away.

Lorraine Heroux
Lorraine Heroux

Heroux, whose 81-year-old husband had passed away in 2020, admitted she had recently spoken to Savage, whom she identified as a “friend.” The kidnap victim later emerged from Heroux’s home. Heroux also walked out of her home and admitted to law enforcement that Savage was inside.

Early in the standoff, Savage sent deputies a photo of himself holding a gun to his head. The kidnap victim told deputies it was her gun and had been taken from the Mercedes.

The SWAT team began firing teargas into the home, prompting Savage to fire back at the deputies, leaving a bullet hole in a neighbor’s house.

The SWAT team sent a robot into the home, but Savage shot the robot, leaving it inoperable.

Savage ultimately surrendered around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The home on Belhaven Loop in the Village of Chatham was considered a crime scene on Saturday
Lorraine Heroux’s home on Belhaven Loop in the Village of Chatham was considered a crime scene on Saturday in the aftermath of the standoff.

Heroux’s home sustained heavy damage with doors and windows smashed by the SWAT team’s armored vehicles. A crew from Marion County Fire Rescue donned protective gear and oxygen tanks when they entered the home Saturday afternoon for an inspection, due to the use of the teargas.

Savage was hardly a stranger in the Belhaven Loop neighborhood. He was arrested last year after alarming behavior apparently fueled by jealousy, aimed at a woman who lived on the same street where the standoff occurred. He sent her more than 200 text messages, many of them of a threatening nature. He also screamed into her Ring doorbell camera on a number of occasions, leaving plenty of evidence of his scary behavior. The prosecutor’s office opted not to move forward with the case after the victim became uncooperative.

In 2020, Savage was convicted of exploitation of an elderly woman with dementia in St. Lucie County. His co-defendant in that case was the same woman he had tormented on Belhaven Loop.

Savage continues to be held without bond at the Marion County Jail.

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