DAVENPORT, Wash. – A 15-year-old boy was charged Friday in juvenile court in the brief abduction of a young child in a small eastern Washington community — an incident that drew wide attention after it was caught on surveillance video.
The boy was arrested after authorities say he tried to take a 22-month-old toddler from a city park last Sunday in Sprague.
He was arraigned on a charge of second-degree kidnapping and entered a plea of not guilty. His next court appearance is April 10, and the judge ruled that he must remain in custody. The maximum penalty for the kidnapping charge is confinement until age 21.
The Associated Press is not identifying the boy because he is a juvenile.
"We'll evaluate the evidence and mount a defense and see where this goes," said Chris Phelps, the boy's attorney.
Lincoln County Prosecutor Jeff Barkdull said authorities don't know why the suspect attempted to snatch the child. "The town of Sprague can rest a little easier with this individual in custody," he said.
The parents of the toddler have praised their two older children, who chased the kidnapper and screamed for help.
The incident began after Michael Wright left his three children with a baby sitter on Sunday while he went to work. The children — Brenden, 10, Delicia, 8, and the toddler — were playing unsupervised in a city park near the sitter's house.
The dramatic surveillance video footage showed a male running down a sidewalk with the toddler in his arms. The child's two siblings screamed and chased him. The scene ended after two teenage boys joined the chase, and the male put down the toddler and fled. The toddler was not hurt.
The toddler's sister picked the suspect out of a photographic lineup, according to court papers. When the girl left the interview room, she told her father, "I found the guy," the documents said.
Phelps was asked whether his client would face retribution in the community if released on bail. "I don't think we'd have vigilante justice out there," he said.
Sprague is a farm town of about 500 people about 40 miles west of Spokane.