A nine-year-old girl was found barefoot and crying with her hands tied with cable ties after she was allegedly kidnapped by a stranger on her way to school, a witness said.
The little girl was allegedly abducted by a mysterious man while on her way to school in Warnbro, south Perth, around 8.45am on Friday.
A concerned parent noticed the girl getting into a silver car and reported it to the school, who in turn reported the suspicious encounter to police.
“They thought this was suspicious and immediately reported it to the school,” the acting Det-Insp said. said Scott Johnson of the Sex Crimes Unit.
“The school has checked with due diligence whether the child was at school and contacted the parents. Since she was not present, the police responded.”
The nine-year-old was quickly reported missing and police launched a full-scale manhunt – before she was found outside a supermarket a short time later.
A family friend said the nine-year-old girl was “devastated” but “so, so glad” to have been brought back to her mother.
A nine-year-old girl was found Friday with her hands tied with zip ties outside an IGA in Port Kennedy (above) after getting into a stranger’s car
A concerned parent saw the young girl given a silver car on her way to school around 8.45am on Friday (pictured the IGA where the girl was found).
The girl’s mother issued a desperate appeal online after learning of her alleged kidnapping, writing: “Someone kidnapped her.” [my daughter] from school’.
“She was seen being picked up by a man in a gray and silver car at 8.25am [the primary school] in Warnbro.’
The little girl was later found alone in front of an IGA in nearby Port Kennedy.
Det-Insp Johnson said staff saw them “in distress and contacted the police”.
“Shortly thereafter, police officers from various units stormed the Rockingham area and located a man in his 30s. We assume that this is the vehicle in which the child was taken,” he said.
witnesses reported The Western Australian The girl’s hands were tied with cable ties.
Worker Alicia Janse Van Vuuren said the girl was taken from the small shopping center in an ambulance.
“We saw her come out of the IGA and get put in the ambulance,” she said.
“We were shocked, she looked tiny.” She was crying and in despair.
“At first I thought she had lost her mother, but she didn’t have any shoes on that would have worried me.”
Another witness said he saw police collecting bags full of evidence at the scene before leaving around 5.40pm.
Forensic scientists were also seen at a location in the bushland believed to be linked to the alleged kidnapping.
Washington police released footage of the dramatic moment when officers arrested a man in his 30s, believed to be driving the car in which the child was being held.
The man, wearing a high-visibility work uniform, leaned against a silver submarine as officers announced over the radio that they had a “suspect in custody.”
As of 11pm Friday night, no charges had been filed in the matter.
The nine-year-old girl was taken to Perth Children’s Hospital for a medical check-up and to ask her family there for support.
She is later questioned by specialized childcare workers to help the police better understand what happened.
Det-Insp Johnson said: “This is probably one of the most serious things that can happen, the disappearance of a young child, one of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
“It was an appropriate response for most of the subway.” [police] “To get here, there was a large police presence – Rapid Reconnaissance Squad, Child Abuse Squad, Rockingham investigators.”
WA Police arrested (above) a man in his 30s who was driving the car. They assume the girl has been arrested
As of 11pm on Friday evening, no charges had been filed in the matter (pictured the man’s arrest).
He also commended the concerned parents who reported the strange sight.
“That’s probably one of the main reasons the issue has been resolved — a parent noticing something is wrong, seeing a child getting into a car when they’re almost at school and reporting it immediately — that’s paramount,” he said.
“It’s one of the things that parents need when they’re having a tough talk with their kids about stranger danger and talking to anyone, walking with anyone, or doing anything online.”
It is understood that the school only informed the parents of the incident at the time of collection.
Students were sent home with a message promising “support staff” would be available on Monday.