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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Toddler found safe in Valley after suspect stole vehicle with him inside

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 11, 2021

By Emma Epperly and Maggie Quinlan The Spokesman-Review

A 2-year-old boy was briefly kidnapped Wednesday night after his father momentarily went inside a Spokane Valley store leaving him alone with the car running, according to court records Deputies quickly issued an Amber Alert and the boy was found asleep in the abandoned car less than an hour later.

The alert was issued at about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday that the boy and vehicle had gone missing from a parking lot that houses a Wendy’s and Hico Market on Barker Road just off Interstate 90. The boy’s father had run into the Hico Mart to buy cigarettes, according to court records.

The father looked out into the parking lot to his his light blue 1994 Chevy Suburban SUV driving away, according to court records.

After seeing the public safety alert, a person called in a tip that they thought they spotted the car, said Cpl. Mark Gregory. The car was found idling on the 4400 block of N. Ellen Road, according to court records.

“It was called in by a citizen that they believed it was the vehicle,” Gregory said. “The child was in the backseat asleep and nobody was around it.”

Police arrived and made sure the child was safe, then began searching for the suspect. Despite Air 1 already being nearby and aiding in the search along with K-9s, deputies were unable to locate a suspect, Gregory said.

While it’s common for a running vehicle or car with keys in the ignition to be stolen, it’s rare for circumstances to line up to include a child, Gregory said.

As of Thursday afternoon, Gregory said it was unclear if the suspect was aware the child was in the vehicle when it was stolen.

Deputies ask that anyone with information call crime check at (509) 456-2233.

Editor’s note: This story was changed on Jan. 11, 2021 to correct information about the parent who was with the child when the car was stolen with the child inside. A previous version of this story listed the wrong parent. The story also has been updated to include the store where the father was located and where the car and child were found. 

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