Mother describes saving child from predator

Mother describes saving child from predator; police continue to search for suspect

Posted:
The attempted kidnapping happened at Sterchi Hills Park in North Knox County around noon on Thursday. The attempted kidnapping happened at Sterchi Hills Park in North Knox County around noon on Thursday.
"The next thing you know, he's bent down talking to her and telling her she's so pretty and told her that when she gets bigger she's going to have an awesome figure, things that old grandpas don't say to little kids," the mother said. "The next thing you know, he's bent down talking to her and telling her she's so pretty and told her that when she gets bigger she's going to have an awesome figure, things that old grandpas don't say to little kids," the mother said.
"When you start having a feeling and you're becoming uncomfortable, the best thing you can do is alert someone around you or leave," Det. Reyda of the Knox County Sheriff's Office said. "When you start having a feeling and you're becoming uncomfortable, the best thing you can do is alert someone around you or leave," Det. Reyda of the Knox County Sheriff's Office said.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The mother whose two-year-old daughter was nearly abducted at a local park is shedding more light on the close call.

It happened at Sterchi Hills Park in North Knox County around noon on Thursday. Police are still searching for the suspect.

"We pulled up and he was standing there. It looked like he had been jogging or running, so I didn't pay much attention to it," said the young mother, who was with her daughter, 2, and son, 4.

She said the man then sat down on a bench and started watching her daughter.

"He would not talk to my son. He wouldn't look at me or talk to me. The only thing he was doing was looking at my daughter," she said.

She moved her family to a different play area and the man followed twice.

"The next thing you know, he's bent down talking to her and telling her she's so pretty and told her that when she gets bigger she's going to have an awesome figure, things that old grandpas don't say to little kids," the mother said.

She decided to leave and waited for her son to come down the slide. 

"I looked over and my daughter started walking away from me. I had to scrunch down to look and see what was going on, and the guy was bent down coaching her to him," she said.

She ran after her little girl.

"As soon as I got to her, he was bent down touching her, fixing to pick her up. I immediately grabbed her and he looked straight at me, that's the only time we made eye contact, and then he ran," she said.

On her way to a relative's house to call 9-1-1, she saw two police cars and flagged them down. 

Tips for Parents

"We had the area saturated in a very timely fashion. Unfortunately, we're not positive of the time lapse from when she left," said Det. Heather Reyda with the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

Det. Reyda said they didn't see any sign of the suspect. She has some advice for all parents.

"When you start having a feeling and you're becoming uncomfortable, the best thing you can do is alert someone around you or leave," Det. Reyda said.

The mother agrees. 

"I think, honestly, if I hadn't have gotten to her, I probably would not have a daughter today," she said. "I just hope he doesn't get away and then end up with a missing child somewhere."

The suspect is described as a white man, 45 to 55 years old, 5'9" to 6' tall, about 200 pounds with a medium build.

He has brown eyes, gray, balding hair and a pockmarked face. He also had a full beard that was gray and well-kept. He was wearing a blue jogging suit with yellow stripes.

He did not appear to be homeless, but a vehicle was not spotted.

If you have any information, call the Knox County Sheriff's Office at 865-215-2243.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.