'I’m sure he’s already long gone'
Last Updated: August 2, 2010 10:58pm
Fugitive Cody Ledbetter is shown in Blue Bombers uniform June 1, 1997. The former CFLer is on the run from authorities in Texas and Ottawa. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency file photo)
When she decided to drop everything she had and follow her fugitive boyfriend from Oklahoma to Ottawa she couldn’t have imagined it ending like this.
When police arrived at the Canterbury St. apartment she once shared with Cody Ledbetter on Saturday morning, they found his former girlfriend, three-and-a-half months pregnant, her eye already swelling black and blue.
The couple’s one-year-old daughter was in the apartment.
Ledbetter — a former CFL quarterback on the run from Texas police — was not.
“I have absolutely no idea where he’s gone,” said the woman, who agreed to an exclusive interview with the Sun on the condition she is not identified.
“I wish I did (know where he is) because then I wouldn’t have to be looking over my shoulders every 10 minutes.”
The couple started dating in 2007 after they met in Ledbetter’s hometown Stephenville, Texas.
She knew all the details of his sordid past, including that he pleaded guilty in 2005 to having an “improper relationship” with a 16-year-old female student while he was an assistant football coach at Alvarado High School.
Last summer, she discovered Ledbetter had been cheating on her, and she threw him out.
He went out, got drunk, and found himself in front of a judge who was ready to throw the book at him for breaking conditions halfway through his 10-year probation sentence, which included a strict provision to abstain from alcohol.
“He was facing up to 20 years in jail,” said the woman. “So he ran.”
She didn’t want to follow, but according to the woman, Ledbetter was very persuasive.
“I never wanted to come up here in the first place, but this is where Cody said he wanted to go,” she said.
“I knew he was (going to be on the run), that’s why I was leery of coming up here, but he kind of played mind games with me and told me I’d be a bad parent if I didn’t bring my daughter up to be with her daddy, to be a family.
“He was a great dad to her. He was always there for her, he just ended up not being there for me.”
Ledbetter arrived in Ottawa, where he still had football buddies from his playing days with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in September 2009.
His girlfriend followed a few months later with their infant daughter in tow.
But the relationship soured, and the couple split four months ago, keeping an arrangement where Ledbetter could still watch his daughter while the toddler’s mother was away at work.
But last Friday, things reached a boiling point when Ledbetter arrived and demanded the woman’s truck, which she said was the last remnant of her late father’s estate, and solely in her name.
The argument escalated, and soon Ledbetter was hurling threats, and the woman was holding a knife.
“I have a black eye, scratches on my shoulder,” she said. “He’s got a cut on his right hand from trying to grab the knife out of my hand,” she said.
“I didn’t call the cops, because he kept telling me if I ever went to the cops I’d get arrested for aiding and abetting a fugitive. I didn’t want my daughter being raised in a foster home.”
Ledbetter fled in the woman’s truck, a maroon 2003 Dodge pickup with Oklahoma plates, which police are now hunting for.
When reached for comment in her Texas home, Ledbetter’s aunt Melody was surprised to learn his girlfriend and daughter had followed him to Canada.
“He’s just made some bad choices, I guess you’d have to say,” she said. “I love Cody, he’s my nephew, but I don’t really know what’s going on, I don’t really understand what’s going on.”
According to his aunt, the last contact Ledbetter had with anyone in the family, including his mother, was nearly a year ago.
The family all knew about his legal troubles, but it was rarely discussed after he pleaded guilty to sex-related crimes five years ago.
“Of course he denies it all,” she said.
As for Ledbetter’s whereabouts, his family and his former girlfriend insist they don’t know.
“If I know him, when things get bad he’ll just run,” said his former girlfriend. “So I’m sure he’s already long gone.”