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A startling surveillance video released by eastern Washington state police Monday shows the terrifying moment a man snatched a 22-month-old boy from a stroller — with the child's siblings giving chase. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is now trying to find the man who attempted to abduct the toddler Sunday afternoon before letting him go, NBC affiliate KHQ in Spokane reported.
The children were under the care of a babysitter at the time, but they were playing unattended in a park in Sprague, a tiny city of about 500 people. The suspect grabbed the boy, leading his 8-year-old sister to let out a scream for help. But moments later, the man dropped the boy, who was found sitting on the ground unharmed about two blocks away from the park, police said.
Witnesses told KHQ that they saw the children running and called 911 for help after realizing what had happened. But the man fled before police arrived. Authorities are asking for the public's help in identifying him.
"It looks to me a random act of trying to abduct a little boy," Lincoln County Undersheriff Kelly Watkins told KHQ.
The boy's mother, Nicole Wright, told the station that she's "distraught" her son was nearly kidnapped. The family's babysitter is a trusted family friend, Wright added, although she isn't angry about the situation — just relieved her son is safe. "I'm glad he's here now. All day Sunday, I did not want to let him go," Wright said, adding, "It could have been so much worse."