By BRIAN HAYNES
David Bailey knows he’s a lucky man.
He knows that some strange man snatched his little girl from a school bus stop and forced her into his car. And he knows if a good Samaritan who heard his girl’s screams hadn’t intervened, he might have lost his daughter forever.
“This guy has to be stopped,” said Bailey, a 36-year-old father of four. “If he punches a little girl and pushes her out of a car … there’s no telling what he would have done.”
Las Vegas police launched a valleywide manhunt for the man and his car shortly after the incident, which began about 8:30 a.m. when Bailey’s 7-year-old daughter walked to the school bus stop just outside her family’s gated community near Warm Springs and Lindell roads.
While the girl waited, a man pulled up, got out of his car and pushed the girl into his back seat, police said.
Bailey and his wife had always taught their kids to scream if someone tried to take them, and that’s what Bailey’s daughter did Tuesday. She screamed like her life depended on it, Bailey said.
The commotion caught the attention of a woman in the area. She approached the man and questioned him before he drove away, police said.
“It didn’t look right. It didn’t feel right to her, so she followed him,” said Sgt. Leonard Marshall, a detective with the child sexual assault unit.
All the attention apparently spooked the kidnapper. He pulled over after driving less than 100 yards, pushed the girl from his car and left, police said.
The good Samaritan took care of the girl and called police.
“Thank goodness a citizen saw them and followed them, or who knows what would have happened to that little girl,” said Lt. Mitch Bradshaw, head of the Las Vegas police sexual assault unit.
Bailey, a truck driver for an equipment rental company, heard about what had happened during work. He rushed home to find his daughter safe, meet police and thank the woman who saved his daughter.
When he saw the woman — whom he would identify only as Patricia — he broke into tears, he said.
Bailey said he hardly ever cries, but he couldn’t help it. He hugged Patricia and they cried together for several minutes, he said.
“It just feels so good that we have people in this world that are so good,” said Bailey, who called Patricia his angel.
She told him God put her in the right place at the right time, he said.
The woman was able to give police a solid description of the kidnapper and his car.
Police said the man was black and in his early 30s. He was about 6 feet 2 inches tall and 180 pounds with a medium complexion. He had a thin build and wore his hair in long black braids. He was last seen wearing a blue bandana, a blue shirt and blue jeans, police said.
His car was a late 1980s Lincoln four-door with fading black paint. It had a broken right taillight covered with red tape and bubbly rose-colored window tint.
Police put extra patrols in the area after school Tuesday, and they planned a similar presence today before and after school as they keep watch over schoolchildren and search for the kidnapper.
As part of the investigation, detectives planned to talk to registered sex offenders living in the area, Marshall said.
Bailey said Tuesday’s incident had made it clear to him that child sex offenders need to receive longer prison terms. Anything less than 30 to 40 years for the man who kidnapped Bailey’s daughter would send a message to other would-be child kidnappers that they can commit crimes without threat of serious punishments, he said.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “I’m not a civil rights activist. I’m not anyone who’s of any importance to society, but something has to be done with these people.”
Bailey, his wife or mother-in-law used to escort his daughter to the bus stop every day, but recently they’ve allowed her to walk herself one or two days a week to give her a little more freedom as she gets older, he said.
But after Tuesday, they’ll be back by her side, even though she seemed to be OK following the incident, he said.
Bailey said he’ll also be on the lookout for the kidnapper’s car.
“Let’s just hope we can get this guy off the streets, because if he’s off the streets, that’s one less person out there who can hurt children,” he said.
Anyone with information about the case can call Detective Don Cullison at 229-3421 or leave anonymous tips with Crime Stoppers.