A brave mother in New York has responded with fierce steadfastness in the path of kidnappers who attempted to seize her five-year-old son whilst they strolled down a footpath together.
Dolores Diaz Lopez and her young child were walking down Hillside Avenue in Queens amongst a group of children around 8pm on Thursday 15 July 2021 when they suddenly encountered a suspicious man.
The man had pulled up on the side of the road in a dark red sedan and quickly jumped out, moving swiftly to get on the footpath.
In a hasty move, he then reached for the nearest child to him, grabbing the smallest one who walked a few paces in front – and who happened to be Ms Lopez’s son.
The stranger caged the child in his arms before running back to his vehicle and tossing him inside it, while a passenger waited in the front seat.
At this point, as maternal instincts kicked in, Ms Lopez quickly responded.
The mother raced to the passenger side of the car and scuffled against its occupant, who held onto her young child.
After a tense struggle, she managed to grab her son and eventually pull him straight out of the front-passenger window – leaving the pair in the car to promptly flee the scene.
According to reports from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the frightening confrontation was captured on surveillance camera, the footage of which was released to help track down the man.
The NYPD advised it was looking for two men in connection with the alleged attempted kidnapping abduction.
It is understood Ms Lopez did not recognise or have an association with either of the men involved.
A 24-year-old man was eventually arrested and charged over the alleged kidnapping incident.
While he has not been named publicly, he does face charges of attempted kidnapping, reckless endangerment and acting in a manner injurious to a child less under the age of 17, according to police.
The man’s accomplice has not been tracked down.
Child’s Attempted Kidnapping Sparks Mixed Reactions from the Community
As news was shared of the alleged attempted kidnapping, the reaction from the public came with many mixed responses, from a clear lack of faith in the criminal justice system to a stark acknowledgement of a presently disturbing world.
“It’s NYC…too bad he’ll be on the street again in a heartbeat,” one user wrote on the NYPD news update.
“That is great that you guys got him. Thanks. Now don’t let the bail reform laws let him back out onto the streets,” another woman echoed.
This sentiment continued as others wrote, “Attempted? The child was in his car – he committed KIDNAPPING!” and “He’ll be out in a couple days since it’s NYC and they don’t charge criminals cuz their lives matter too…”.
For others, the mood was sombre, with many expressing distress and disillusionment in response to the incident.
“Crazy world we are living in,” acknowledged one person.
“Jail on top of him please. Just the trauma he has caused all three children and their mother alone calls for that,” mirrored another.
One user perhaps summed up the astonishment, saying, “My god, the courage… Look at these small children… Thank god everyone’s okay”.
Deliberately taking or detaining a person without consent, or kidnapping – is a criminal offence.
The offence is taken very seriously by the courts and hence carries maximum penalties of jail time.
If you are in NSW, the legal consequences of kidnapping are detailed in section 86 of the Crimes Act 1900, which reflects penalties dependent upon the circumstances in which the offence took place.
Specifically, for a basic kidnapping offence – in which a person takes or detains a person without the person’s consent, either intending to hold the person to ransom or intending to commit a serious indictable offence or with the intention of obtaining any other advantage – there is a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.
Where the kidnapping offence is aggravated – in which the offence takes place in the company of another person or results in the victim sustaining actual bodily harm – the maximum penalty jumps to 20 years in jail.
Where the kidnapping is specially aggravated – in which the offence takes place in the company of another person and the victim also sustains actual bodily harm – the maximum penalty again jumps, in this case to 25 years in jail.
Questions? Speak to one of our friendly specialist criminal lawyers Parramatta based.