Suspect identified in downtown Athens abduction of UGA student

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Athens-Clarke County Police publicly identified the suspect Thursday in the abduction and sexual assault of a female University of Georgia student as a Jefferson man.

In a news release, police said they have charged 57-year-old James William Daniels of Jefferson with false imprisonment and rape.

For the first time publicly, police said the victim is a UGA student.

Investigators with Athens-Clarke County Police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Wednesday they had safely located the woman who was abducted from a downtown Athens street.

Wednesday morning, both agencies released photographs of the woman who was seen being coaxed into a Black Nissan Sentra in downtown Athens as part of a welfare check alert.

The University of Georgia issued an alert about the case after the releasing of the photographs.

Witnesses told authorities they saw the woman get into the car traveling east on Broad Street and later in the area of Boulevard and Chase Street at about 12:15 a.m. 

"One individual actually attempted to follow the car and was able to obtain the tag number, which actually was just the best lead that we could ever hope for," said Agent Ayers.  "[That clue] lead us immediately to a suspect." 

At a news conference early Wednesday afternoon, GBI Region 11 Agent-In-Charge Mike Ayers and Interim Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Mike Hunsinger announced they had located the woman who they said is now safe.

Ayers and Hunsinger said officers with both agencies questioned the suspect.  They said Jackson who they did not publicly identify immediately has been convicted in the past of sexual assault as well as possession and distribution of child pornography. 

Investigators fear more women may have been victims of abductions or attempted abductions by the man.

"We are asking anyone who has had contact with the driver of that vehicle to please contact the Athens-Clarke County Police Department so that we may be able to speak with them.  It is our understanding that this individual has on more than one other previous occasion attempted to coerce females into this vehicle," said Ayers. 

They urge anyone who may have been approached by Jackson to contact Detective Michael Poole with  Athens-Clarke County Police Department at (706) 613-3330, ext. 794 or