Young siblings in US help to stop alleged kidnapper from taking away their baby brother

WASHINGTON - A 15-year-old who allegedly tried to kidnap a toddler in the United States was arrested on Wednesday, US media reported.

Footage of the teenager running away with the 22-month-old boy in his arms, and the toddler's young siblings giving chase, was captured by a grocery store's security camera.

The incident happened on March 8 in a small town, Sprague, of 500 residents, in the east of Washington state.

Washington-based news agency KXLY News reported that the incident happened after Mr Michael Wright went to work, leaving his three children, 10-year-old Brenden, eight-year-old Delicia and toddler Owen, with a babysitter.

At the time of the incident, the children were playing without supervision in a park near the babysitter's house.

The news agency quoted police from the Lincoln County as saying that the suspect talked to the children for a few minutes, before scooping the toddler out of his stroller and fleeing.

KXLY News reported that Delicia's screams alerted Ms Dorothy Giddings, an employee of an antique store nearby. Ms Giddings then sent her grandson Andrew Crane, 15, and his friend Isaac Yow, 16, to chase the alleged kidnapper. When he realised he was being chased, the suspect left the toddler in a vacant parking lot before fleeing.

Police issued photos to the media and conducted an extensive investigation before identifying the suspect within 72 hours, according to media reports.

Ms Giddings told the local newspaper that she said to Delicia: "Honey, you did exactly what you needed to do - scream your head off - that's what saved that baby."

jalmsab@sph.com.sg