Teen held in Washington state kidnapping previously investigated: official

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 13, 2015 2:39 PM

By Victoria Cavaliere

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A 15-year-old Washington state boy arrested in the attempted kidnapping of a toddler, captured on video, had previously been investigated for luring a minor but no charges were filed, prosecutors said Friday.

The teenager, who has not been identified because of his age, was set to make an initial court appearance Friday as investigators consider kidnapping charges after the March 8 incident in Sprague, a farming town of about 500 people.

The boy is accused of snatching a 22-month old from his stroller in a city park, then running away with the child in his arms. The incident was caught on video and widely viewed online.

The Lincoln County Prosecutor's office said the teenager had been known to investigators for some time, and last year had been questioned in the luring of a child about 10 years old, who was led away from his home by the hand of an older person.

Charges were not brought because of a lack of evidence, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said.

The youth was arrested on Wednesday on preliminary charges of second degree kidnapping after officers identified him through DNA and witness accounts, and a photo montage shown to one of the toddler's siblings, said Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers.

The baby's older brother and sister, ages 10 and 8, and two teenagers, have been credited with foiling the abduction, chasing the suspect and screaming for help until he set the child down unharmed.

The kidnapper, first described by authorities as about 30-years-old, was later identified as the Sprague-area teen. No motive is known, the sheriff's office said.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere, editing by Sharon Bernstein and Grant McCool)