Crime

Search continues for 8-year-old girl kidnapped while walking with mom in Fort Worth

Update: The 8-year-old girl was found safe

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to remove the name of the girl who was kidnapped because of the nature of the allegations later added against the suspect.

Police are searching for an 8-year-old who was kidnapped Saturday evening in Fort Worth.

The girl and her mother were walking in the 2900 block of 6th Avenue at about 6:40 p.m. when a man in a car pulled up next to them and grabbed the child, the woman told police. The mother jumped into the car but was pushed back out and the man drove off, officer Buddy Calzada said.

A nearby resident’s doorbell surveillance camera captured video of the woman falling from the car, then yelling as she ran down the street, “Help me! Help me, please! My daughter just got kidnapped!”

The girl was identified by police at 10 p.m. She has long brown hair, freckles and blue eyes. She was wearing a teal shirt with “centennial” printed on the front and periwinkle and purple leggings.

The suspect was described as a balding man in his 40s with caramel colored skin. The car is a gray, four-door sedan with alloy wheels and either light or no tint on the windows. One witness saw a paper tag on the vehicle, Calzada said.

Fort Worth’s special response team was checking various areas around the city for the girl. At 1:20 a.m, Arlington police, the FBI, Homeland Security and the Texas Department of Public Safety were assisting with the search. An Amber Alert was issued Saturday night.

Mansfield police told Fort Worth police they would put together a team to assist if the search goes into the night.

Police had the intersection of West Lowden Street and 6th Street blocked off.

“We’re talking to all the witnesses we can. We have a very disturbed mom, a very disturbed family right now,” Calzada said. “They want that little girl home and so does the Fort Worth Police Department.”

Nearby resident Christine Smith Chisolm said the mother and daughter live in Fairmount but had been house-sitting for a friend in the Ryan Place neighborhood, just a block from where the alleged kidnapping occurred.

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Police believe this is the car the suspect was driving in the kidnapping of an 8-year-old Fort Worth girl. Fort Worth police

“It happened so fast. I heard some noise. I looked out but didn’t really see anything,” Chisolm said.

She said soon afterward, a patrol car pulled into her driveway, and she walked outside and saw the mother “just screaming.”

“She didn’t even have shoes on,” Chisolm said.

The girl’s father arrived not long after that, according to Chisolm.

“He came speeding up,” she said. “He started yelling about his kid being kidnapped.”

The father sat on Chisolm’s porch crying, she said, until later being summoned away to talk to police.

Kristin Westhoff, who had been the girl’s kindergarten teacher at Daggett Montessori, heard news of the kidnapping while picking up dinner for her kids. She quickly dropped them off at home, then spent Saturday driving the streets of Ryan Place for any sign of the girl.

“My heart is broken,” Westhoff said. “I couldn’t get here fast enough to help.”

The police department’s Major Case Unit was working on the case.

Red Sanders, who lives in the neighborhood, said he reviewed his surveillance footage of the street and saw the car police are searching for drive down Elizabeth Boulevard at 5:56 p.m.

Sanders said he wanted to get the word out about the video because it shows the car in the neighborhood 35 minutes before the kidnapping happened.

Sanders said he has lived in the neighborhood for six years and that it is a tight knit community. Everyone has been posting in the neighborhood Facebook group and doing whatever they can to help, he said.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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