LOS ANGELES (FOX 11) - Detectives asked for the public's help Thursday identifying a suspect who allegedly attempted to kidnap two children in Los Angeles.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, around 6 p.m. on Oct. 18, the victim went to a local restaurant in the 100 block of West Manchester Avenue. The female suspect walked up to the victim as she was walking to her car and demanded that she hand over her young brother. Police said the woman tried to grab the 1-year-old boy from the victim's arms and claimed the boy was her child.
Surveillance video shows the victim walking to her car with her younger brother in her arms. The suspect followed the pair out in the parking lot and once again tried to take the child from the victim's arms.
The victim called for help and ran back into the restaurant.
Detectives said that the same suspect then made her way to the 8000 block of South Main Street and entered a gated apartment courtyard where several children were playing.
Norma Carillo told Fox 11 her children were playing outside when the suspect walked up to the group and zeroed in on the second child, a 5-year-old boy.
"She was calling the little boy and the little boy ran over to her and then she grabbed him and then she put him down and she was trying to walk away and I told my sister, 'we don't know that girl. Go get the baby!' I was so nervous I could not move," said Carillo.
Carillo's sister then grabbed the boy and brought him to his mother and sister, Andrea Garcia.
"I saw my mom was screaming at the lady. She was like why did you try to take away my son and that's when I said it's time to call the police. The lady, actually when she saw me, she crossed the street and I was mad at that time because why would she do something like that so I went after her for two blocks but then I stopped. I was mostly mad when everything was happening because I don't know why there's people like that in the world," said Garcia.
The suspect was described by the LAPD as "a Hispanic female between 20 to 35-years-old, standing approximately 5'6" and weighing around 135 pounds with short-cropped brown hair. She was wearing a white shirt, light green shorts, and dark slippers."
Garcia said the woman ran away from the area once police were mentioned. When police arrived in the area, the family filed a police report with LAPD officers.
"Once everything happened, I was finally noticing what could have actually happened if he took my brother and so I was upset and then seeing my mom, she was in shock and she couldn't even talk," said Garcia.
Carillo has lived in the area for 10 years and said she has never experienced something like what happened on Sunday. She is now keeping the kids in the neighborhood indoors.
"I'm like, 'I'm not letting you guys go outside anymore because we're scared.' I'm telling the people to take care of their kids, don't let them walk alone, hold their hands and be careful, look around everywhere," said Carillo.
Garcia said she's so grateful her neighbors helped save her brother, and the complex is a close-knit community. Now, the neighbors are hoping the woman is caught soon.
"I just hope that they catch this lady because we don't know why exactly she's trying to take the kids away. I just hope that they catch her and they put her in jail where she belongs," said Garcia.
The LAPD recommends residents in the area to consider the following:
• Always be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
• Try to stay in well-lit areas.
• If you feel you’re being followed, walk to a well-populated area.
• Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately.
• Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.
Anyone with information regarding this incident was urged to contact 77th Division, Crimes Against Person Detectives, Detective Preciado at 323-786-5412. During non-business hours or on the weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-527-3247.