The mother of a child who was kidnapped Tuesday evening in central east Austin is warning other parents to keep an eye on their children.
"It can happen to anybody. Period," said the woman who doesn't want her identity revealed.
Her 7-year old daughter and 9-year old son were playing right outside her door with a few friends in the area of Webberville Road and Rosewood Avenue at around 8:10 p.m. Sept. 19. The woman sat on the porch watching her kids.
"I came back in the house to actually get them drinks and all of that and use the restroom because the neighbors were sitting outside too," she said.
The neighbors walked off and a man walked up. Police have described him as a white or Hispanic man with a muscular build and short black hair with a bald spot. He is described as being 5-feet 5-inches. He was last seen wearing a black and white shirt with blue jeans. His car was described as a four-door, white 2001-2006 Mercury Grand Marquis with a "trashy" interior. His license plate is unknown, police said. Here's a picture of his vehicle:
"The guy came from over here on this side," the woman said as she pointed to an opening in the courtyard area.
"He came, approached them and told them that if he could get help finding his dog that he would pay each and every one of them a dollar," she said.
The kids said the man told them where to go look.
"As soon as they, you know, he distracted them to go away, my daughter said he grabbed her, covered her mouth and ran with her and put her in a car," the woman said.
The man drove down Webberville Road, passing Austin Community College. He turned and stopped in front of the Boys and Girls Club.
"She jumped out the car and she ran all the way home," the woman said.
"My son, he was looking for her, calling her name and he said he seen her running and crying. So by the time I came back to the door to go check on them again, they come running."
The woman said her daughter was shaking and she couldn't understand what she was saying and her son was also visibly upset. After a few moments, she was able to calm her daughter down and that's when the child told her mother what happened.
"'He just put me in the car. He just put me in a car mama,'" she said her daughter told her.
The mom called 911 and took her daughter to Dell Children's Medical Center. While she's physically okay, the family is coping with the mental and emotional effects.
"I just could imagine if, if she, she wouldn't have come back," said the mother as she wiped tears from her eyes, "or had that reaction to, you know, get out the car."
Now she's warning other parents to keep a close eye on their kids.
"Keep an eye out on them because the person is still out there. It could be him or any other person that does stuff like this with kids. I really don't want another other kid to experience this because what if they don't even get a chance to get out of the car? What if they can't open the door? You know, what if they chase them?"
Austin police say they are working the case, but are not yet ready to release any additional details.