Olympia suspect in alleged kidnapping released

Prosecutors say they lacked compelling evidence to keep 35-year-old woman in jail

jpawloski@theolympian.comAugust 14, 2013 

Prosecutors are reviewing a case involving a 35-year-old Olympia woman who was arrested Sunday night after she allegedly reached over a fence and grabbed a 5-year-old girl as she played in her grandparents’ yard.

The suspect, who has mental health issues, was released from jail Monday after the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office failed to find probable cause to support an accusation of felony kidnapping.

Olympia Police Department spokeswoman Laura Wohl said police were dispatched to the grandparents’ home on 18th Avenue about 8 p.m. Sunday night. The child’s grandparents witnessed the woman grabbing the 5-year-old and were alerted by the sound of their dog barking, Wohl said.

The suspect was a stranger to the child and her grandparents and had earlier been thrown out of the nearby Church of Living Water for allegedly disrupting a church service there, Wohl said.

Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Powers said Tuesday morning that judging from the police reports and witness statements he had reviewed so far, the woman grabbed the child below her shoulders from across the fence, but did not lift her from the ground. There was no evidence in those police reports that the woman made any attempt or threat to take the child from the yard, Powers said.

But by Tuesday afternoon, Powers said he had received additional, conflicting witness statements. He said only that more investigation needs to be completed before he can make a final charging decision.

“We need to investigate this thing further,” Powers said.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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