Friends describe Betty Cobb as a fighter after being kidnapped and tied up for hours

Betty Cobb described as fighter by friends and family
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - 47-year-old Tony White has been arrested by Highway Patrol in Kentucky after an all out search by state and federal authorities.

White is accused of kidnapping 75-year-old Betty Cobb and leaving her tied up in his closet.

Calhoun County Sheriff Mathew Wade tells WBRC White was caught in Richmond, Kentucky around 7:45 p.m. on July 5, just one day after Cobb’s rescue.

Troopers were on the lookout for him from a nationwide BOLO on his car. Wade says according to Kentucky Highway Patrol, they pulled him over without any problems.

Sheriff Wade said he could not wait to tell Cobb they caught him. She is still in the hospital as of July 5, but her friends tell WBRC that she is a fighter.

“She would take the shirt off her back and hand it to you,” Assistant Fire Chief with the Quad Cities Fire Department, Jason Austin, said. “That is just the type of lady she is.”

Others may have retired, but Betty Cobb keeps going. After more than 30 years, she is still volunteering with the Quad Cities Fire Department. Austin said she is a founding member of the department and also acts as secretary.

“For any wreck call, any medical call, any fire call, even at 75, Ms. Betty is still there,” Lt. Tim Hicks with the Quad Cities Fire Department said. “If she’s not there, you can bet someone is going to ask ‘where is Ms. Betty’.”

“She is actually the mom of the department,” Austin said. “When we are on a scene, there is a lot going on. It’s a lot of chaos, but Ms. Betty is like the calm in the storm.”

Not only is she beloved by local first responders, her fire family said everyone in the county knows “Ms. Betty.”

“She is very well known by everybody,” Hicks said.

Hicks said that’s why when Ms. Betty was kidnapped on the Fourth of July, hundreds showed up looking for her.

“I was amazed at how many people showed up to look for her,” Hicks said. “To give their Fourth of July up.”

“There was probably 300 to 400 people there wanting to help within an hour,” Austin said.

She was found alive six hours later after being followed, stuffed inside a car trunk, attacked with a knife and tied up inside a closet, according to authorities.

“Ms. Betty is a fighter,” Austin said. “Whatever he did or however he did what he did to her, it wasn’t easy. She fought. Without a doubt, she’ll fight till the end and that is why she is still here today. She didn’t give in, she fought till the end.”

With the community’s support behind her, her fire family hopes she knows that they’ll help take care of her.

“She is going to have a long road ahead of her,” Austin said. “We know that. A lot of trauma and getting over it, but between the love she will have here at the fire department, and the prayers through her church, we will get her through all of it. She is going to be strong on the other side.”

Calhoun County Sheriff Wade said they believe Cobb was randomly targeted by White while she was grocery shopping because she is elderly. They believe he targets this age group specifically and may even be linked to two other kidnapping cases from 2012 and 2013. They now plan to run his DNA in those cases.

He is now in a Kentucky jail, waiting trial for extradition back to Alabama.

Tony White captured in Kentucky
Tony White captured in Kentucky(Madison County Detention Center)

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