One parent in a Wichita Falls neighborhood says he plans now to always stay outside to watch over his kids, after a man was caught allegedly trying to kidnap and assault a 7-year-old girl over the weekend.
Brad Ware is a resident and parent who lives on Elizabeth Avenue, who says it was a normal Saturday afternoon with all of the neighborhood kids playing outside when something happened that reminded them all that today’s normal can pose many risks to children.
26-year-old Raeshawn Perez is accused of trying to kidnap and assault a 7-year-old girl.
“Over there she was playing on a scooter and then he just came up and grabbed her and started walking and then I came in and told them what happened and then I followed them,” Thomas Smith said.
Thomas smith, one of the kids out in the neighborhood, followed his gut instincts and ran to get the nearest adult.
“Me and my wife were sitting on the couch and this young man he ran up to the door and told me: ‘Brad, Brad some guy just kidnapped this little girl’ and the first thing that came to my mind, I took off out the door,” Brad Ware said.
Ware said he initially tried to run on foot to try to find Perez and the girl, but turned back around to get his car.
Ware and his wife left in the vehicle and began looking for Perez.
He said they were pointed toward the direction he fled by other witnesses and they found the alley Perez went down.
They saw Perez trying to put the girl through a window of an abandoned home near Clark Street and Huff Street.
Ware’s wife yelled for Perez to put the girl down and eventually he did.
“He took off running and I caught him in the street and kicked him in the groin when I had him and he squirmed off and ran across the street and as soon as he ran across the street, he hit the grass and that’s when I tackled him,” Ware said.
He held Perez until officers arrived and when Ware asked Perez what he was doing, he says Perez told him he just wanted to have sex with the girl.
Police say Perez said after having sex, he planned to return the girl to her home.
In the end, Ware says thanks to Thomas Smith’s help the little girl got home safe.
“You know, he’s the one that more or less saved this kid from being killed or raped, you know?” Ware said.
Now Ware says he’ll stay outside with the kids and is grateful that they always look out for one another.
Inside that abandoned home on Clark, we found a burned phone book, a half empty wine bottle, a Bible and other items that made it appear someone had been staying there.
Again, Perez is charged with aggravated kidnapping with a $50,000 bond.
The Wichita Falls Police Department is reminding parents to remain extremely vigilant.
Sgt. Harold McClure says you should always keep a close eye on your children. Never allow them go out to play alone without some sort of supervision.
He says get to know your neighbors, who in this latest scare were responsible for bringing the little girl home safe.
Sgt. Mcclure says it is important to talk to your children.
“Let ’em know: ‘Hey, if you see someone that you don’t recognize, don’t go up to them. If someone tries to get you to do something that you don’t wanna do, you don’t have to do it. Run to an adult that you know,” WFPD Sgt. Harold Mcclure said.
Sgt. McClure also says you should teach your children that if someone does grab them to resist, scream, yell, kick and fight.