A 6-year-old Kentucky girl was riding her bike last week when a stranger allegedly drove up, jumped out of his car, grabbed her by the collar, threw her into his vehicle, and took off.
Neighbors who were outside witnessed the event in Valley Station, a suburb of Louisville, and sprang into action. The father and son witnesses jumped in their own vehicle and chased after the man suspected of kidnapping the girl, calling 911 while in pursuit and giving operators the alleged perpetrator’s license plate number.
The Louisville Metro Police Department responded – and it was all hands on deck to find the girl.
Sgt. Joe Keeling, himself the father of a small child, located the vehicle in less than 10 minutes and was able to detain the suspect, Robby Wildt, 40.
Officer Jason Burba, a father of four, quickly arrived on the scene. “You just can’t get there fast enough,” he recalled later, according to the Associated Press. “Seconds feel like hours. Your only thought is getting there as fast as you can.”
In Burba’s bodycam footage from the rescue, released by LMPD, the officer can be seen rushing toward the car and finding the little girl crying in the passenger seat.
“It’s OK,” Burba can be heard saying, picking the child up in his arms as she sobs, “I want my daddy.”
The little girl was returned home to family members, and Wildt was arrested. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
Police say Wildt admitted to kidnapping the little girl, but told officers that he was going to take her back home because he was afraid he “may hurt her” and “he felt bad for doing what he had done.”