Police in Louisville, Ky. have released body camera footage of two officers rescuing a six-year-old girl who was the victim of an alleged kidnapping attempt.
Louisville Metro Police Officer Jason Burba and Sergeant Joe Keeling apprehended the suspect, Robby Wildt, 40, who had apparently tried to kidnap the girl around 5:40 p.m. on July 2.
Sergeant Keeling was first on the scene, having located the alleged kidnapper’s car. Video shows Keeling instructing Wildt, 40, to back away from the car and get on his knees. After a few moments, another officer is seen starting to handcuff Wildt.
Officer Burba was the second to arrive; he was captured on video removing the child from the suspect’s car — a red Dodge Challenger.
“It’s okay,” Burba is heard telling the girl as he lifts her out of the car. “Come here; it’s okay.”
As Burba carries the girl to his patrol car, she can be heard crying and saying “I want my daddy.”
According to the LMPD, witnesses who saw Wildt take the girl and put her in his car acted quickly by calling 911 and providing a detailed description of the event and the car. According to legal documents on file in the matter, one witness even followed Wildt and was able to provide a partial license plate number.
Police “promptly responded and saturated the area,” the LMPD said. K9 and air units joined in as well.
“Fortunately the entire incident only lasted about 30 minutes due to the quick actions of the community and LMPD,” Officer Beth Ruoff said.
The incident citation says that Wildt, after receiving his Miranda rights, told police that he saw the girl “playing outside near the street, circled the block, and then took her from the side of the road.”
“He went on to state that as the victim cried in the front of his car he tried to console her before deciding he knew what he was doing was wrong,” the citation said. “[H]e began to drive back to the location he took her from, afraid he may hurt her. It was at this time police stopped the vehicle.”
“Suspect made multiple statements that he knew he was wrong and he felt bad for doing what he had done,” the citation also said.
The arresting officers noted in the citation that Wildt appears to have no relation to, or custody over, the victim.
“This is a rare situation, stranger kidnapping,” Ruoff told Law&Crime. “More commonly we see custodial issues as kidnappings. Although we do not want the community to be alarmed, this is certainly an educational opportunity for parents to remind their children that ‘stranger danger’ is real. It is important to talk to your kids about any adult who tries to use a ruse to lure them to their vehicles or away from public view.”
Both Burba and Keeling, who both have kids, spoke to Louisville NBC affiliate WAVE about the incident.
“It’s like the world stops,” Burba said. “Like every second feels like hours.”
“It was overwhelming,” Keeling said. “Especially when you hear her crying and asking for her family because she’s so scared. It was definitely a gut check.”
Wildt has been charged with kidnapping of a minor. His bond was set at $1 million, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 12, according to online court records in Kentucky.
Read the LMPD’s citation below:
[Images and video via Louisville Metro Police Department.]
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