HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Authorities say Kenneth Glenn Hinson, 47, charged with raping two 17-year-old girls in an underground room has been captured.
U.S. marshals told FOX News that Hinson was caught around 5:20 p.m. Friday afternoon near the woods less than a mile from the crime scene, down the street from his own house in northeastern South Carolina.
Darlington County police officials said at a news conference that deputies entered a back yard at approximately 5:11 p.m. Friday where they found Hinson. When they told him to lie down, he complied, and a weapon was found in his possession.
Police say they concentrated on the woods believing Hinson had begun to flee on foot. The arrest came on information based on a tip.
Chief Deputy Tom Gainey said police had received a call from a residence of a relative nearby Hinson's house. Upon Hinson's arrest, Hinson said he was thirsty and that's why he had come to the house, because he knew the occupant.
Gainey also said the relatives who'd called in with the tip were cooperative, but that their exact relation to the suspect was not known.
Asked to speculate on possible charges, Gainey said charges of kidnapping could yield a 30-year sentence. Gainey also said he was not sure if the victims have been notified.
"He looked like a man that was sort of relieved that it was over," said Chief Deputy Tom Gainey of the Darlington County Sheriff's Department.
When asked if Hinson resisted arrest, U.S. Marshal Tim Stec told FOXNews, "We were on him too quickly."
The two 17-year-olds were abducted and assaulted in a hidden room under a shed on Hinson's property, Darlington County Chief Deputy Tom Gainey said. The girls were left bound but managed to free themselves. Gainey said they opened the trap door in the floor and kicked down the shed's door, and fled to safety.
Hinson is currently being held at the Darlington County detention center, and 4pm bond hearing Saturday.
Hinson, who was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl in 1991, served 9 years of a twenty year sentence. Just before his release from prison in 2000 Hinson was recommended for the state's sexually violent predator program, but was rejected during the screening process, the state attorney general's office said.
"We thought then that the judge made a mistake," state Attorney General Henry McMaster said. "This man was sentenced to 20 years. Had that 20 years meant 20 years, he'd still be in jail now, and this wouldn't have happened," he told FOXNews.
McMaster also chided a judge's decision to not place Hinson in a program for sexually violent predators.
Just before Hinson's release, a review committee recommended that he be committed indefinitely to a Department of Mental Health facility for treatment, but Circuit Judge Edward Cottingham rejected the recommendation, saying prosecutors failed to show Hinson would likely offend again.
"I can't control what comes before me as a judge," Cottingham said Friday. "And I deal with what's before me and make a ruling to the best of my judgment."
Cottingham said he did not remember Hinson's specific case but that state law requires prosecutors to show probable cause that the person will commit another sexual assault.
"Obviously I regret that these young children were raped by this man," the judge said.
The rural road leading to Hinson's home outside Hartsville is lined with mobile homes, many of them with bikes and toys lying in the yards. The neighborhood, which one resident described as "one big family," is about 20 miles northwest of Florence where busy Interstate 95 meets Interstate 20.
Tonya Dixon, who moved to the neighborhood about two weeks ago, searched her computer after news of the assaults spread and found Hinson's mug shot on the state's sexual predator list.
"They need a big ol' sign in the yard letting people know," said Dixon, 29, who has three young children.
Argeree Cooks, who lives with her four grandchildren down the street from Hinson's home, was worried. Her family also did not know Hinson was a sex offender, she said.
"Why couldn't they tell us?" she said. "We have seen him. They need to tell people these things."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.