Tryon man pleads guilty to first-degree kidnapping

Published 11:16 am Monday, August 22, 2022

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Hardin sentenced after abandoning baby in church parking lot


POLK COUNTY– A Tryon man pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping in Polk County Superior Court earlier this month.  The case was heard by Judge Mark E. Powell on Monday, August 1. 

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On March 27, 2020, Polk County deputies responded to a scene after a call had been made regarding an individual finding a baby inside a black gym bag in the parking lot of the Trinity Lutheran Church, just outside of Tryon.


Earlier that same day, deputies responded to a 911-hang-up call where a 6 month old baby was discovered to be missing from its crib. 


When arriving at the church, deputies found the baby in a malnourished state with multiple physical injuries visible all over her body. 


After investigations in which the mother of the baby, Heather Lynn Walsh of Rutherfordton, was charged with misdemeanor child abuse and the siblings of the baby removed from her custody, deputies were able to pinpoint the crime to her boyfriend, Joshua Oren Hardin of Tryon.


On April 3, 2020, Hardin was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, felony breaking and entering, and felony larceny after breaking and entering.


After pleading guilty to first-degree kidnapping more than two years later, Hardin was sentenced to 140 months in prison with a credit of 852 days served.