The mother of a 2-year-old who was nearly abducted Wednesday from the backyard of the family’s Tacoma home said she remains alarmed at the boldness of the would-be kidnapper.
Police said the man reached over a 5-foot-tall wooden fence and unlatched the gate to the backyard of the home in the 3100 block of South 17th Street.
He tried to pull the screaming toddler through the fence, but one of the girl’s older sisters grabbed her arm and tried to pull her back.
The man then dropped the child and took off running through an alley, according to police.
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“When I heard her screaming I thought she had fallen,” said the girl’s mother, who asked not to be identified to protect her family’s privacy. “My mind didn’t instantly go to someone having the guts to open my gate in the middle of the day.”
“I just want people to understand how bold this guy was,” she said.
The girl’s mother said her daughter was playing in the backyard with two sisters, ages 7 and 9, when the incident occurred about 4:30 p.m.
After the two older children briefly stepped inside, the 2-year-old started screaming, prompting the older girls to run back outside and see the attempted kidnapping, the girls’ mother said.
Now, the family has put a lock on the back gate, and doesn’t allow the children to play in the backyard unless a parent and the family dog, SugarBear, is outside with them, the mom said.
The man is described as black, in his late 20s, 5 feet 8, with a medium build. He had a short beard or was unshaven and wearing a black beanie, black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans with torn knees and high black boots.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911.
On Thursday, the family’s neighbors were concerned by the close call on their street.
“Now there is no playing outside,” said Tami Champagne, who has a 6-year-old son and lives across the street from the site of the attempted kidnapping. “It’s terrifying.”
David Gray, who lives a few doors away, said the neighborhood is “close-knit,” and he has never heard of anything similar happening there before.
“This is a safe neighborhood,” Gray said. “I’ve been here 28 years... never had any problems.”
Staff writer Stacia Glenn contributed to this report.