FBI gives insight into what parents should know about kidnappings after child abducted on North Side

SAN ANTONIO – Child abduction — it’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

News of the search for a suspect in connection with a kidnapping on the North Side is making parents around San Antonio uneasy.

Paloma Martinez, a mother of two, said it’s scary to think about.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you. You have to be careful, and you have to be that much more protective with your children,” she said.

The kidnapping happened Thursday night near Loop 1604 and Redland Road. The parents of a 7-year-old said she had gone out to let her dog do its business when she was snatched.

READ MORE: Man accused of kidnapping 7-year-old wanted by SAPD

The girl was able to jump out of the vehicle since the apartment complex has a gate.

The FBI said the likelihood of a child being abducted in the U.S. is very low, as children are most likely to be taken around their home and/or on their way to or from school.

“We should definitely do everything we can to protect our children, to educate them. But the reality is your child is more likely to be a victim of sexual abuse or child pornography than a child abduction,” said FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee.

In 2018, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted law enforcement and families with more than 25,000 cases of missing children.

Case types included the following: 

92% endangered runaways
4% family abductions
3% critically missing young adults, ages 18 to 20
Less than 1% nonfamily abductions
1% lost, injured or otherwise missing children

“Having your child kidnapped is one of the most primal fears that you have as a parent, and you know, that fear just really resonates and stays with you forever,” Lee said.

Lee said it’s important to talk to your children about stranger danger at all ages and the ploys that suspects can use, such as the lure of kittens, ice cream or even lying about being sent by a parent to pick a child up. She said parents should teach children to yell, scream and fight to get away if they are taken.

She also warns parents to be careful of rumors of attempted abductions that spread quickly on social media and then turn out to be hoaxes.

“Rely on information from law enforcement sources,” Lee said. “If we see a possibility of someone who is out in our community who we believe may be trying to abduct children, we're going to put that information out.”

The average age of children who are abducted is 11 years old. The average kidnapper is a man in his 30s, and most recently, women have also been assisting in abductions, experts say.

Parent Sandra Aramburo said the recent kidnapping should be a warning to all parents to remind their kids about the dangers that exist.

“This is a great opportunity for me to do that. All of that serves as a constant reminder that it’s very important,” she said.

About the Authors: