More witnesses needed as Kelowna RCMP investigate a child snatching incident
A 30-year-old Alberta man is facing potential criminal charges after allegedly snatching a toddler from his family.
“It was Sunday afternoon that the RCMP were called to Waterfront/Kerry Park and this was for a report of an assault and a disturbance at that location,” Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said. “Our officers arrived on scene and were told by a number of bystanders that an unknown male had approached a family, grabbed a hold of a woman’s child and a struggle had ensued essentially. After that struggle, the subject eventually jumped into the water and swam away.”
The incident started near The Sails sculpture.
A witness described seeing a man take the young child out of a stroller.
“He just picked up the baby out of the stroller by the head and started running with the baby and everyone was screaming,” said Terri Haymen, who witnessed the incident.
“He said it was a mistake. He didn’t mean to grab the baby.”
The baby was retrieved. The man, however, kept running, tearing off his clothes as he went.
He then jumped into Okanagan Lake before getting onto a dock.
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RCMP tried to talk to him, but he jumped back into the lake.
He was eventually taken into custody.
“It certainly was a bizarre incident that our members were faced with and again as to the motives of this individual, it wasn’t very clear yesterday and I’m not sure it’s even quite clear today,” O’Donaghey told Global News Monday afternoon.
The suspect was supposed to appear in court today, but Global News was told that he’s still in hospital.
The young boy was checked over by paramedics on scene and taken to hospital but appeared unhurt.
RCMP are urging anyone who may have witnessed the man’s interaction with the child and/or his family to contact them.
“The investigation is still ongoing and our encouragement to the public is to other witnesses, we want them to come forward,” O’Donaghey said.
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