Police on Thursday released surveillance video as they asked for the public’s help to identify a woman being sought in a pair of attempted abductions over the weekend in the Florence neighborhood of South Los Angeles.
The first incident occurred in the 100 block of West Manchester around 6 p.m. Sunday. The victim had gone to a restaurant when she was approached by the would-be abductor, who demanded she hand over the 1-year-old brother she was carrying, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
She claimed the child was hers and tried to grab him, according to an LAPD news release.
The assailant followed the pair back to their vehicle, where the woman again tried to take the little boy from his sister’s arms, police said. But the victim screamed for help, catching the attention of a nearby man who stepped in to assister her.
“Thankfully, a good Samaritan was in the area, you can see in the video, and we would like to identify him as well. He was walking just in the parking lot and sees this occurring and scares away the suspect,” LAPD Detective Liliana Preciado told KTLA.
Soon after, the same assailant went to a gated apartment in the 8000 block of South Main Street. Once there, she attempted to grab a 5-year-old who was among a group of children playing in the courtyard, according to the release.
That attempted kidnapping was also thwarted when the boy’s family members saw her trying to leave with the child and stopped her, according to LAPD officials.
The 5-year-old’s sister told KTLA the woman didn’t initially say anything when she approached her brother, using her hands and her face to interact with the child.
Then, she told him to “‘come here.’ That’s when my brother went up to her. She made some funny faces with him, my brother started laughing. That’s when she put him down, grabbed him by his hand, then started to walk out,” said the sister, who did not want to be identified.
She added her brother is “alright” but “traumatized” over the ordeal.
“He’s just like, more scared to go outside and play now, and … he used to be very social, now he doesn’t really talk,” the sister said.
Authorities have described the wanted woman as Hispanic, between 20 to 35 years old, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and approximately 135 pounds. She has short, cropped brown hair.
The woman wore a white shirt, light green shorts and dark slippers at the time of the incidents.
Anyone who recognizes her or has information about the case is asked to call Detective Preciado of the LAPD’s 77th Division ,Crimes Against Person Detectives at 323-786-5412. During non-business hours or on the weekends, callers can dial 877-527-3247.
Anonymous tips can also be submitted through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477, by texting to phone number 274637 with the message beginning with the letters “LAPD,” or by going to LAPDOnline.org and clicking on “webtips.”