Crime

8-year-old girl kidnapped in Fort Worth is found safe; police say suspect is in custody

8-year-old girl kidnapped in Fort Worth is found safe

Salem Sabatka, 8, was found safe early Sunday morning after being kidnapped Saturday while walking with her mother in Fort Worth.
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Salem Sabatka, 8, was found safe early Sunday morning after being kidnapped Saturday while walking with her mother in Fort Worth.

An 8-year-old girl who was kidnapped Saturday evening in Fort Worth was found safe early Sunday morning, police said.

The girl was identified by police as Salem Sabatka at 10 p.m. Saturday. She 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 Salem 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 Salem 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 Salem 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 Salem 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.

Fort Worth police officer Buddy Calzada talks about the case of 8-year-old Salem Sabatka, who was allegedly kidnapped by a man in a car while walking with her mother.

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