LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Police on Thursday released surveillance video and asked for the public’s help to identify a woman being sought in a pair of attempted abductions over the weekend in South Los Angeles.
The first incident occurred around 6 p.m. Sunday. The victim had gone to a restaurant when she was approached by the would-be abductor, who demanded she hand over her 1-year-old brother, whom she was carrying, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
The woman claimed the child was hers and tried to grab him, according to an LAPD news release.
The assailant followed the pair back to their vehicle, where the woman again tried to take the boy from his sister’s arms, police said. The victim screamed for help, and a nearby man stepped in to assist her.
“Thankfully, a good Samaritan was in the area, you can see in the video, and we would like to identify him as well,” LAPD Detective Liliana Preciado told KTLA. “He was walking just in the parking lot and sees this occurring and scares away the suspect.”
Soon afterward, the same assailant went to a gated apartment and attempted to grab a 5-year-old who was with a group of children playing in the courtyard, according to the release.
That attempted kidnapping was also thwarted when the boy’s family members stopped her, according to LAPD officials.
The 5-year-old’s sister told KTLA the woman didn’t initially say anything when she approached her brother, using her hands and her face to interact with the child.
Then, she told him to “come here,” the sister said, adding, “That’s when my brother went up to her. She made some funny faces with him, my brother started laughing. That’s when she put him down, grabbed him by his hand, then started to walk out.” The sister did not want to be identified.
The sister said her brother is “alright” but “traumatized” over the ordeal.
“He’s just like more scared to go outside and play now, and … he used to be very social,” she said. “Now, he doesn’t really talk.”
Authorities have described the wanted woman as Hispanic, between 20 to 35 years old, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and approximately 135 pounds. She has short, cropped brown hair.
The woman wore a white shirt, light green shorts and dark slippers at the time of the incidents.