Man raped, kidnapped teens before arson-fueled attempt to escape capture, police say

Suspect charged in kidnapping, rape

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis police officers arrested a man accused of kidnapping two teens and raping one of them.

Officers were called to a home on Riney Street around 11 a.m. Wednesday. They said a 17-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl escaped the home and ran to a nearby grocery store where they flagged down help.

Two children safe after barricade, fire

Investigators said the teens were being held against their will by 44-year-old Phennix Givens.

According to a police affidavit, Givens found the teens in the area of Frayser Boulevard and North Watkins Street and asked them if they wanted to make some money. They agreed, and when they got to Riney Street, he threatened them with a knife and held them against their will.

Givens then reportedly raped the girl and stabbed the boy in the leg.

Johnny Kelly lives a few doors down and he says Givens always seemed a little off.

"They must have gone through torture dealing with him. I can’t imagine what he sent them through,” said Kelly.

Eventually, the teens were able to escape the home when Givens fell asleep.

When officers arrived at the house, they said Givens set his couch on fire.

"I guess he set the house on fire and next thing I know it’s up in flames,” said Ronnie King, neighbor.

The house was engulfed in flames minutes later and police were able to take him into custody after he tried to escape through the bathroom window.

"I’m glad they got him and finally got him out of the community,” said Kelly.

Givens is charged with two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated rape, and arson.

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