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Suspect arrested after 9-year-old girl escaped from attempted abduction

A 9-year-old girl escaped after being forced into a stranger's car, police said. The community jumped into action to help find the person who did it.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — One day after an alleged abduction attempt escalated into a barricade situation in Stafford, Virginia, a suspect has been arrested, according to the Stafford County Sheriff's Office.

Steven Randall Williams, 34, of Stafford County, is incarcerated without bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail for one count of abduction, police said.

A nine-year-old girl was walking home from a bus stop near Basswood Drive on Friday afternoon when a man she didn't know approached her, police said. The man asked her for directions and then picked her up and forced her into the passenger side of his vehicle, according to the sheriff's office.

As the man walked around the car toward the driver's side, the girl opened the passenger door and ran home. The man drove away in a black Buick Regal, police said, and officers responded at around 2:50 p.m.

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The Stafford County Sheriff's Office immediately began investigating leads and collecting evidence. The community stepped into action, police said. Someone sent a photo of the car and others shared possible leads. 

Within hours, police identified Williams as a suspect. The SWAT Team surrounded Williams' house on Owens Street and tried to call him outside, at around 9 p.m. Williams refused to come out and it became a barricade situation, police said.

Credit: Stafford County Police
Steven Randall Williams of Stafford, Virginia

Police deployed a drone and a robot into the home to search for Williams and sent in chemical munitions, while the Crisis Negotiation Team tried unsuccessfully to get him to communicate with them, according to the department. Williams still did not come out.

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A K-9 named Titan was then sent into the home, police said. Titan was able to find Williams just before 3 a.m., more than 12 hours after police had first responded. 

Williams was taken into custody without incident, police said. 

But on top mind for many who live in the area, like 10-year-old Anya Sheriff, is staying safe after hearing about a near kidnapping just blocks away.

“I have to, like, walk safely, and I can't cross the street in a part that I shouldn't, and I have to walk where I'm supposed to because this can happen to anyone,” Sheriff said. 

She and her older brother Mikailu learned about the near kidnapping from their friend. As they head to the bus stop on Monday, they vow to be more alert.

“It makes me feel that I should be more aware of my surroundings,” Mikailu Sheriff said. 

The Jeff rouse Swim and Sport Center near by the subdivision is a place where kids and families hang out. Michael Daniels said his son has been afraid to leave the home and they’ve been discussing safety measures.

“It's frustrating because we are in a time where people should be able to trust that the kids can get to the bus stop and not get picked up,” Daniels said.

Lori Thompson has two children and doesn’t want this situation to cause her children to live in fear.

“I haven't addressed it specifically with them and I don't think I'm going to actually tell them about it because I don't want it to scare them,” she said.

She’s opting to continue to educate her kids on what to do if they find themselves in a similar situation.

Amanda Cox, a mother of three, home schools her children, but said they spend a lot of time outside playing and it’s why she’s decided to have a reminding conversation on what they should do in the event they’re in danger.

“We had to have a conversation about not being scared, but being proactive and just letting the kids know what to look out for,” Cox said.

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