Local News

Authorities: Concerned neighbor thwarted kidnapping

Posted August 7, 2014

— A concerned neighbor helped foil what Wayne County authorities described Thursday as a kidnapping.

Elma Garcia alerted authorities after her next-door neighbor showed up at his home, at 117 Jimmy's Drive in Seven Springs, at about 5 p.m. Wednesday with a 4-year-old girl whom Garcia had never seen before.

The girl was inside the adjacent mobile home for about 20 minutes before Garcia confronted her neighbor.

"When I first got her, she was really scared. She looked like she was really confused," Garcia said. "She just wanted someone to hold her, so I held her and my neighbor held her. We told her not to be scared, that we're here to help her."

Nearby residents helped identify the girl, who lives a couple of miles from Jimmy's Drive.

"We took pictures of the little girl," Garcia said. "The neighbors went to (nearby) stores and the church, and a man from church recognized the little girl."

The girl, who was unharmed, was reunited with her mother after about three hours.

Oscar Juarez-Perez, 40, was charged with abduction of children and felonious restraint. He was being held in the Wayne County jail under a $500,000 bond.

Investigators said the girl had been swimming at a neighbor's home when she was abducted, and no one knows why Juarez-Perez would have been in that area.

Garcia said Juarez-Perez appeared to be intoxicated and might have confused the girl for his own child. He has two small children, she said.

"He has a little girl and he has a little boy, so he probably figured the little girl was his," she said.

Authorities said they don't know why the girl was taken and are still trying to sort out what happened and get some questions answered.


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  • Richard Hertz Aug 8, 2014
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    More of South America's finest exports. Send him back NOW!

  • 678devilish Aug 8, 2014

    Very good observing neighbors. I am so glad they were around to help this child. Glad the child is back with her mother. Being intoxicated, the man most likely thought it was his child. If this was the case, maybe it was not kidnapping.

  • this is fdup Aug 7, 2014

    Glad the little girl is ok thumbs up to the alert neighbor

  • Linda Kerns Kellogg Aug 7, 2014
    user avatar

    Horrifying. I don't buy that this guy mistakenly thought this little girl was his. Was his little girl also swimming where this child was abducted? He doesn't know what his own child looks and sounds like?! Baloney. Thank goodness for this neighbor who took action and saved this child from god-knows-what.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 7, 2014

    There had to be more to alert the person that something was not right. Remembering that these story are new brief and don't always have the details. Glad someone was paying attention.

  • Susan Olvera Aug 7, 2014
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    I guess the neighbor was distrustful of this man in general and followed their instinct. Good call.

  • Steve Faulkner Aug 7, 2014
    user avatar

    He showed up at the address he lives at? Huh? Is that a boarding house at that address?

  • jackaroe123 Aug 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Agreed. I'm glad they changed the headline from "Vigilante Neighbor..." though. That term brings to mind someone taking matters into his or her own hands w/ some physical force (for better or worse). I think it's probably more widely acceptable for a concerned (or nosy) neighbor to make a phone call or ask the suspicious neighbor questions.

  • Chris Mullins Aug 7, 2014
    user avatar

    I'm glad this turned out okay but I don't understand what was suspicious from the way it was written. Did the person who called authorities know the child to know they were in the wrong place?

  • elkerster Aug 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I agree but there is no mention here were the child was taken from. Maybe this is someone the family knew who picked the child up from a daycare or kidnapped from a babysitter. Not enough information here yet.