A search was underway early Tuesday for a man who tried to abduct a 5-year-old girl while she was playing outside of an apartment complex in Azusa, police said.
The incident occurred on Monday around 8:30 p.m. in the 500 block of Gladstone Street (map) as two children, the 5-year-old and her friend, were playing outside with the girl’s mother, according to a news release from the Azusa Police Department.
The mother, Kimberly Hernandez, said she was carrying her 1-year-old at the time, and when the toddler fell asleep, she went inside to put the child to bed.
While she was upstairs, she heard screams from her 5-year-old and immediately ran back downstairs to check on the girl.
“It was within moments,” Hernandez told KTLA. “The officer was telling me, ‘well how long were you in here?’ I said, ‘I came in, and gave her to my mom and I walked out.’”
Hernandez saw the man dragging her daughter through the complex and ran to stop him, Azusa police Lt. Stephan Hunt said.
He then released the girl before fleeing the scene, according to the release.
The girl was not injured, but she was badly shaken.
“I’m going to take her to therapy tomorrow, because she’s really scared,” Hernandez said.
She added that her family, which includes her husband and four children, recently moved to the area because they believed it was safer than the neighborhood they had previously lived in.
“I’m scared now,” she said. “I called my husband at work and he was like, ‘should we just move back?’”
Police have described the “suspect” as a Hispanic male in his 20s, standing approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds and having a shaved head, the release stated. He was wearing blue jean shorts and a white collared shirt with red and blue stripes.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Azusa police at 626-812-3200.
KTLA’s Sara Welch and Wendy Burch contributed to this report.