Recent alleged kidnapping stirs memories three decades old

1985 victim praises quick-thinking child's recent actions

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Eddie Latigo - Photojournalist, Luis Cienfuegos - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - A mother with a child of her own, who was abducted in 1985 at 3 years old, remains unwilling to be identified more than three decades later. Still, she wanted to praise last week's quick-thinking by a 7-year-old who escaped her accused kidnapper, Jack Steele.

"I could not be more proud of this little girl," said the woman who'd seen the story. "She just assessed her situation and was very aware of what was going on."

San Antonio police said the child, who noticed a vehicle door was unlocked, jumped out, screamed for help and ran away.

"Thank God this one had a happy ending," the woman said. "It doesn't always turn out that way."

The woman said she didn't even know what abduction was at 3 years old. 

"I just knew that this man had candy for me and he was nice to me," she said.

Facing other abduction charges, Ray Moberg was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 1987 murder of his stepdaughter.

Moberg's victim said, like the child last week, she also was near her family's apartment. She was playing with a friend when she was approached by Moberg.

"You can't take your eyes off of (children) for two seconds," the woman said. "That's when they take the opportunity to do their worst."

Randy McGibeny, chief program officer at ChildSafe, said, however, abductors don't just snatch children off the street.

"That's just not reality. We can't always see what's happening," he said, noting that many predators are now tech savvy to help them "groom" young, vulnerable victims.

"They're acting as if they're their peers," McGibeny said.

McGibeny said that's how predators get personal information and set up potential abductions.

"We just need to be more diligent as parents, as community members and how we educate our children," he said.

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