Crime

Suspect in kidnapping of 8-year-old Fort Worth girl transferred into federal custody

Video shows suspect’s car in kidnapping case

A video taken from a neighbor's surveillance system shows the car police suspect was involved in the kidnapping of an 8-year-old Fort Worth girl on Saturday evening. The grey car which makes a left turn is the suspected vehicle.
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A video taken from a neighbor's surveillance system shows the car police suspect was involved in the kidnapping of an 8-year-old Fort Worth girl on Saturday evening. The grey car which makes a left turn is the suspected vehicle.

The man accused of kidnapping an 8-year-old Fort Worth girl as she walked with her mother on Saturday evening has been taken into federal custody.

Michael Webb, 51, was arrested by Fort Worth police on a charge of aggravated kidnapping early Sunday. A judge set his bond to $100,000 on Monday. By Tuesday morning, jail records show that Webb was no longer being held in the Tarrant County Jail and was transferred into FBI custody at 8:16 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said they cannot provide details of the charges he faces until Webb has his first appearance in court.

Webb is accused of forcing Salem Sabatka into his car just after 6:30 p.m. Saturday near 6th Avenue and Lowden Street. Her mother grabbed a piece of jewelry from the assailant in what Fort Worth police said was a “valiant fight” with the man in the Ryan Place neighborhood of the city.

A video from a nearby porch security camera captured the back of the driver’s car speeding away. In the video, Salem’s mother could be heard screaming that her daughter was kidnapped.

Eight hours later, Salem was found safe at the WoodSprings Suites hotel in Forest Hill. Webb was arrested.

The Forest Hill Police Department said on Monday that officers received a tip about two hours before Salem was found to check the hotel. They made contact with Webb and walked through his hotel room, but didn’t find the girl, they said.

But at around 2:30 a.m., police said two people who attend a local church saw the suspect’s car and led police to the hotel where Salem was found. The church members saw the photo of the car on social media and drove around to help find the girl.

One of the men, Jeff King, a pastor at Bear Creek Bible Church in Keller, said he decided to help because he is a parent himself and because he is a former high school classmate of Salem’s father.

“I feel like God allowed me to be a tool,” he said.

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