Girl, 5, escapes kidnap attempt

The girl was grabbed from her bed but struggled free before the suspect
was caught.

By Diana Hefley and Krista J. Kapralos
Herald Writers

EVERETT – A 5-year-old girl escaped the grasp of a stranger who kidnapped
her from her bed Monday morning, Snohomish County sheriff’s officials
said.

The suspected abductor, a 20-year-old man, was captured shortly after he
was spotted by a sheriff’s deputy outside the same apartment complex in
the 800 block of 112th Street SW.

Police say the man lives in the same 216-unit apartment complex as the
girl. It wasn’t clear Monday if he had targeted the family or if it was a
random attack.

He slipped inside the apartment through an unlocked sliding glass door of
a ground-level unit just before 5 a.m., sheriff’s Chief Tom Greene said.

The man walked through the apartment to the girl’s bedroom, grabbed her
and ran out the front door with the girl in his arms, deputy Rich
Niebusch said.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” Niebusch said.

The girl screamed and struggled to free herself. Her screams woke her
parents, who called 911 and chased after the man, who was holding their
daughter.

The man ran about 100 yards before the little girl was able to free
herself from his grasp. He ran off but was spotted loitering near the
entrance to the complex on 112th Street SW.

The man was arrested and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for
investigation of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree burglary.

He had lived at the apartment complex for about a year and has no
criminal history, Niebusch said.

Police say the girl should be commended for her bravery and quick
thinking.

“Due to the (girl’s) courage and tenacity, she was able to escape,”
Greene said. “We’re pretty proud of this little gal.”

She was slightly injured and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The family was unavailable for comment Monday.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson said he could not
recall the last time a child was abducted by a stranger in the county.

“In the vast majority of cases, the assailants are known to the family,”
he said.

It is unusual for strangers to abduct children; usually, the abductor is
a relative or someone known to family members, said Susan Miller of the
State Patrol’s Missing Children Clearinghouse.

“There aren’t that many of them in the nation, perhaps less than 1
percent,” she said. “They just aren’t common.”

Parents should remember to do one last check at night to make sure their
home is secure, she said.

Copyright © 2005 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, Wash.

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