(SPRAGUE, Wash.) — The children being hailed for their heroism after surveillance video showed them chasing a man who apparently tried to kidnap their little brother from a Washington state park said the man first tried to befriend them.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, the Wright children — 10-year-old Brenden and his sister, 8-year-old Delicia — said they and their 22-month-old brother, Owen, were playing unsupervised in a Sprague, Washington, park Sunday next to their babysitter’s home while their father, Michael Wright, was at work. They were approached by a strange man who started talking to them.
“He said he’s nice to kids and he’d been babysitting for a long time,” Delicia said on Tuesday.
Asked whether the man tried to make friends with them, Delicia replied: “Yeah, but he lied to me.”
The unidentified man grabbed Owen from his stroller and ran away with the boy on his shoulders, Delicia said.
She thought the man was trying to kidnap her brother, so she “ran and screamed,” the third-grader told ABC News.
Surveillance video from a nearby grocery store showed a man running with Owen in his arms, Delicia giving chase and Brenden, who was also running while pushing his brother’s stroller, following his sister.
Witness Dorothy Giddings described the scene.
“This little girl come running around the corner screaming her head off,” Giddings told local ABC affiliate KXLY.
Delicia’s screams alerted Isaac Yow and Andrew Chase, and the teens joined the chase. The suspect left Owen in an empty lot. The boy was unharmed.
The suspect in the alleged kidnapping remains at large. On Monday, police were scouring the park where the incident started.
Brenden said he wasn’t afraid of chasing the stranger.
“I was chasing him so I could get [Owen] back for my cousin’s birthday party,” the fourth grader said.
He and his sister both told ABC News that they think the stranger is “mean.”
The children’s father remained shaken by what happened, but also was relieved and proud.
“I am fortunately very lucky that I still have my son, Owen, with me, you know?” Mike Wright said. “And for my kids to run after him, that’s an act of courage.”
He added that he didn’t know why the babysitter left his children alone.
“There hasn’t been any trouble and, you know, it’s a small town, so for whatever reason why the sitter was not with them, that’s beyond me,” he said.
He considered himself very lucky.
“My daughter could have gotten snatched up,” Wright said. “My other son could have gotten snatched up. You never know what could have happened and I’m very, very lucky to have my children with me still to this day. And for everybody out there, all I want to say is watch your children as close as you can because this could happen to anybody.”
Police in the small community of Sprague, population 500, are asking anyone who recognizes the suspect to contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 509-725-3501.
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