VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A one-month-old child was safely returned to his parents after being allegedly kidnapped in a stolen car early Saturday morning.
The alleged car theft and kidnapping happened just before 8 a.m. Saturday out front of Happy Juice, a smoothie and coffee stand in Vancouver, Washington. The baby’s parents, John and Ashley, own the business and said they began setting up for the day around 7:45 a.m.
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“I turn my back for just a second and he utilized that time to run and hop into my driver’s seat of my car door,” John said.
John said he was just a few feet away from the car with his son still in view. He said he began pleading with the man to give the child back.
“I said, ‘Hey my son’s in there, just give me my son. Take my car, just, please, give me my son.’ He hopped in and drove.”
Deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office responded quickly to the family’s 911 call. John said the car was found 15 minutes later, dumped near NE 88th and Highway 99.
The infant was still in the backseat, unharmed. But the suspect, identified by law enforcement as Mario Dorian Andrews, was nowhere to be found.
Later that day, John and Ashley noticed someone was trying to use their credit cards at the Vancouver Mall.
“He started running up our business card, to which Ashley had the notion of ‘Well, let’s just leave it and we’ll see where it goes,'” John said.
They tracked purchases at Victoria Secret and Footlocker, and then they spotted Andrews in JCPenney. John said he tackled the suspect, and held him down until authorities arrived and arrested him.
Andrews was booked in the Clark County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, theft of a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, possession of a stolen vehicle and attempting to elude from an earlier case in Vancouver.
Records show a suspect matching Andrews’ full name and age was previously convicted of child molestation in 2005.
That, John said, elevated their fears.
“It was a major concern,” he said. “It’s more so horrifying. It just goes to show you really can’t trust people nowadays and it’s really difficult because, you know, we want to trust everybody and we want to be giving people the benefit of the doubt and assuming positive intent. It’s just not the world we live in, necessarily.”
Despite the terrifying series of events, John said his family is grateful for the fast action of law enforcement — and above all, for the safe return of his son.
“It was surreal. I am so thankful. It felt — I don’t even know how to explain the feeling — it felt like a weight off my shoulders. You know all those crazy thoughts went through your mind about what’s the worst thing that can happen. And today definitely that happened.”