Anderson boy held in choke hold with screwdriver at his throat

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William Rothel pleaded guilty in May, 2017 and was sentenced in July to 12 years in prison, followed by two years of home detention and two years of probation.


INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – A quick trip to a Payless Supermarket in Anderson turns into a nightmare.

“I did not know if he was actually stabbing him or what was happening,” says the victim’s mother Olivia Christopher.

The intense moments still replaying in Christopher’s head as she watched her 8-year-old son get dragged away by a man armed with a screwdriver, threatening her son’s life.

“He grabbed him by the neck and had his arm around him and the screwdriver was up against his throat,” says Christopher.

The 8-year-old did not scream and did not fight back as 29-year-old William Rothel allegedly held him in a chokehold, pressing a screwdriver into the skin on the second graders throat.

“It was like two minutes, but it seemed like an eternity,” says Christopher.

The mother’s screams got the attention of dozens of people standing nearby who crowded around the boy. Rothel would not let him go, until one witness took action.

“He has him in the chokehold with the screwdriver up against his neck and this guy in the Gray sweatshirt just came and grabbed him, and he let go,” says Christopher.

Rothel was arrested and now faces charges of kidnapping, battery, and strangulation. Witnesses say he appeared to be on drugs.

“The guy had a screwdriver in his hand and he was ready to put it on somebody. He had it at the kid’s throat, pushing it at him and trying to kill him. He was drugged out,” says Dustin Richardson the victim’s step dad.

Rothel’s dad told us his son has a mental illness and has tried to get him help in the past.

“I mean yah, he looked crazy. He grabbed an 8-year-old kid and tried to stab him in the neck with a screwdriver. Anybody that does that is not in the right state of mind,” says Christopher.

The victim’s family is thankful the young boy is alive, crediting the unknown hero who took down Rothel with saving the 8-year-old boys life.

“If he wants to stay out of the lime light, that is great but either way…thank you. Our family thanks you,” says Richardson.

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