Man accused of kidnapping Van Zandt County teenager makes 1st court appearance in Kentucky

Crime

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (KETK) – Austen Walker, the Tatum man accused of kidnapping a Van Zandt teenager earlier this month, had his first court appearance last week in Kentucky, according to unsealed federal court documents.

Walker, 21, appeared in the Western District Courthouse in Louisville before Judge Colin Lindsay on Friday, May 15, via video conference.

In the brief hearing, Walker was made aware of his charges and assigned Aaron Dyke, a lawyer from the Office of the Federal Defender, to represent him. Walker then waived his right to a preliminary and detention hearing.

Lindsay then ordered that Walker be transferred back to East Texas for the rest of his case to proceed.

Order issued by Judge Colin Lindsay of the Western District of Kentucky

Walker is accused of kidnapping 14-year-old Willow Sirmans on May 13 after meeting her on Facebook. His alleged accomplice, Courtney Odum, is also charged in the case.

A motive has not been revealed so far by investigators and the arrest warrant has not been made public.

Photo: Used with permission from the Sirman family

After Sirmans’ disappearance, a statewide Amber alert was issued and federal law enforcement agencies joined the case.

Walker and Odum were captured in Kentucky on May 14. Special agents from the Dallas FBI office, as well as the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office and multiple other law enforcement agencies, assisted in their arrests.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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