Authorities have arrested a 15-year-old suspect in connection with a reported toddler abduction attempt Sunday in Sprague.
Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said investigators were able to identify the teen once video surveillance footage of the suspect running down the sidewalk with the boy in his arms was enhanced. Deputies conducted surveillance on the teen and served a search warrant on his home Wednesday.
Magers said the teen is a longtime resident of the town of about 500 people but declined to release further details on how the boy was identified and arrested. “There’s a lot we can’t go into right now,” he said.
Magers said the teen is not being identified because he is a minor.
Witnesses said a man approached three children at the Sprague City Park around noon Sunday, spoke with them for several minutes then grabbed a 22-month-old child and ran, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The toddler’s two siblings ran after him, screaming.
It was those screams that alerted teenagers Isaac Yow and his friend Andrew Crane. The suspect came running down ‘C’ Street and crossed First Street in front of Kathy’s Family Foods, where Yow and Crane chased him across a vacant lot. At the edge of the lot the suspect put the toddler down and ran away, Yow said.
“I picked the baby up,” he said. “I took the baby over to the sister.”
Yow and Crane took up the chase again but could not locate the suspect. “By the time we rounded the corner, he was nowhere to be seen.”
Yow was shaken when he found out that the suspect had been identified as a local teen. “It’s scarier because the person lives here,” he said. “It’s probably someone I went to school with.”
The toddler’s sister should be getting the credit for saving her brother, said Yow. “She is the one who told me and Andrew what was wrong,” he said. “I’m not a hero. All I did was chase after this guy.”
One of the siblings identified the 15-year-old suspect after being shown his picture, Magers said.
The 15-year-old has been booked on a second-degree kidnapping charge. The investigation has been forwarded to Lincoln County prosecutors to determine whether additional criminal charges would be filed.
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