Hector Alvarez and his 2-year-old son made three trips to the curb Tuesday evening, taking out the trash.
Each time, his young son walked up with his father and strolled back to the house in the Janrue Court neighborhood. On the fourth trip, a parent's worst nightmare began.
"I had grabbed his hand and we were going back inside the house," Alvarez said in Spanish in a Thursday telephone interview. "Then this young guy comes out of nowhere and grabbed his arm. I never saw him coming."
Alvarez tightened his grip on his son while the suspect tried to pull the child away.
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"He wasn't saying anything," said Alvarez, who said he didn't know the suspect nor had he ever seen him before in the neighborhood. "I saw my neighbor and I just started screaming at my neighbor to call the police."
With that, the suspect released Alvarez's son and fled.
"I picked him up and ran inside of the house and put him down," Alvarez said. "I ran back outside to see if I could find him, but he was gone."
Neighbors reported seeing a red, early 2000s model Dodge pickup driving slowly through the neighborhood earlier that day, but detectives have not determined whether the vehicle was used by the suspect.
Officers responded to the attempted abduction shortly before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 3900 block of Janrue Court.
Alvarez said he never left his son alone Tuesday evening.
"He never left my side," the father said.
The Haltom City father said he and his family have lived in the neighborhood for 10 years and never had any problems.
"I had felt safe, but I still wasn't going to leave my son alone near a curb," Alvarez said.
The Haltom City man believes the suspect was hiding behind a fence when he walked up and grabbed his son's arm..
"The father also grabbed onto his son and started to struggle with the male suspect," police Sgt. Eric Peters said in a Thursday news release.
Alvarez said his son never cried during the struggle nor when he put him down inside.
"He must have thought he (the suspect) was someone from the neighborhood," Alvarez said. "He (his son) doesn't understand what happened."
Officers searched the neighborhood along with other police agencies and a K-9 unit, but they did not locate the suspect.
He is described as a Hispanic man, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a thin build, wearing a black hat, white shirt and shorts. He had short facial hair with a possible goatee.
"If he does this one time, he might do it again," Alvarez said. "I hope another family doesn't have to go through what we went through."
Anyone with information should call police at 817-222-7061.
Staff writer Prescotte Stokes III contributed to this report.