How social media helped capture a suspected kidnapper
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.
An 8-year-old girl who was kidnapped Saturday evening in Fort Worth was found safe early Sunday morning, police said.
The girl had been walking with her mother near Lowden Street and 6th Avenue when a man grabbed her and pulled her into his car, police said.
At 2:30 a.m., police said the girl was found safe at the WoodSprings Suites hotel in Forest Hill. The suspect was in custody.
Officer Buddy Calzada said two citizens who attend a local church saw the suspect’s car and led police to the hotel where the girl was. The church members saw the photo of the car on social media and drove around to help find the girl.
Police went into the hotel, breached a door and found the girl inside. She was taken to a local hospital with a police escort to be examined by doctors, but Calzada said she appeared physically unharmed.
“This comes from the heart of the Fort Worth Police Department. I want to thank all of our followers,” Calzada said. “We’re a great police department, but with you on our side, we’re able to be more effective. You guys were a huge asset to helping (the girl) get home safe.
“It’s taken a whole city behind us to make this happen.”
The suspect is a 51-year-old black man, and the car is a gray Ford Five Hundred. The suspect’s name was not released Sunday morning, but Calzada said the suspect was not a relative. He is facing potential aggravated kidnapping charges.
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.