The witness once hailed a hero for his role in helping police get a jump on the violent abduction of a Philadelphia woman says he has been cast aside by the city.
“It kills me that you can do such a good deed and they don’t care what happens to you once they get what they need,” Dwayne Fletcher told NBC10 exclusively.
When Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was violently abducted off a Germantown Street in Nov. 2014, Fletcher was the first person to call police.
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Fletcher, 33, was walking on Greene St. near Coulter that night when he heard a woman scream. He ran toward the screaming, called out to the attacker and watched in horror as Freeland-Gaither was shoved – kicking and yelling -- into a gray Ford Taurus by a man, later identified as Delvin Barnes, 37, who is charged with kidnapping in this case.
“He witnessed it. He watched. He called the police twice. He waited for me. This man is a hero,” said lead detective on the case Jim Sloan in a news conference the day Carlesha returned to Philly after being held for three days by her captor.
Fletcher was awarded a special plaque by Philadelphia City Council following Freeland-Gaither’s rescue and safe return to Philly.
Naturally, with all this recognition and being credited with kick-starting the investigation, Fletcher felt on top of the world and fully expected to be the lone recipient of the $47,000 reward offered by various organizations in the city.
Fast forward nearly four months and Fletcher’s life is drastically different. Since Carlesha’s kidnapping, he says he’s been harassed and that he fears for his safety. Four homes he’s lived in have been vandalized forcing him each time to move.
“My dad’s been living in his house down the street [from the abduction] for 20 years and never had a problem. The first night I move in, his windows were busted out by bottles,” said Fletcher. “I don’t know if people are harassing me because they think I’m a snitch or because they think I have money."
And he hasn't seen a penny of the reward which includes $25,000 from the FBI, $10,000 from the mayor's office, $5,000 from the Fraternal Order of Police, another $5,000 from PFCU and $2,000 from the Citizens Crime Commission.
Most of the money gets awarded after a conviction in the case. Only the $5,000 offered by the Fraternal Order of Police was solely for an arrest in the case. Just last week, Fletcher says someone from the city council reached out to help, informing him that the $5,000 from the FOP was available, but that he would only receive a percentage because four people will share the reward.
“I’m the only one out there, no one else’s name and picture are out there.”
A check was made out to Dwayne Fletcher for his percentage of the $5,000, said Bob Ballentine of the FOP,
"It's sitting in a folder in the office," said Ballentine. "Prosecutors told us to stand down for the time being."
Ballentine speculates that the hold on the funds has something to do with making sure the case against Delvin Barnes moves forward, but that answer would have to come from the prosecutor's office, which had not answered our requests for comment by the time of publication.
Regardless, Ballentine says Fletcher and the three others expecting a percentage of the reward will get their money eventually -- at least from the FOP.
"We're prepared to pay," he said. "He's going to get paid, but it's just when the prosecution gives us the go ahead."
Fletcher says it's not about the money. He's offended, saying there's been virtually zero communication on officials' end since the case died down. He only found out he wasn't getting as much reward money as he thought because he picked up the phone to check.
“Nobody ever called me. Nobody ever called to check on me. Nothing,” Fletcher said. “Nobody called to see if I was cool. Before all this, I had my own place, a girlfriend, a life and now I have nothing but anxiety.”
“It’s like ‘you want me to get on the stand, but you don’t care what happens to me.’”
Despite all the headache and heartache, Fletcher is happy that Carlesha is home and safe and that he was able to help.
“I’d do the same thing over, but I’d be prepared this time.”