SPOKANE, Wash. >> A sheriff says he doesn’t think a man caught on surveillance video running down a sidewalk with a toddler in his arms is a resident of the tiny town of Sprague.
The boy’s two young siblings screamed and chased him in what officials say was a failed kidnapping Sunday.
The dramatic scene ended after two teenagers also chased the man and he set the boy down and ran off, authorities said. The 22-month-old wasn’t hurt, Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said Tuesday.
"We don’t believe him to be a local at this point," Magers said of the man. "We’d recognize him if he was local."
Authorities have no leads, the sheriff said.
Sprague is a wheat-farming town of about 500 people 40 miles southwest of Spokane.
The boy’s father, Michael Wright, said he was horrified by the incident.
"I can’t explain the feeling, the anxiety and everything" that comes with getting a phone call like the one that told him someone had tried to kidnap his son, Wright told KXLY-TV of Spokane.
Wright left his three children with a baby sitter Sunday while he went to work. The children — Brenden, 10, Delicia, 8, and the boy — were playing unsupervised in a city park near the sitter’s house, he told the television station.
Sheriff’s deputies said a man talked with the children for a few minutes, then scooped the toddler out of his stroller and ran down the street. Surveillance video from a grocery store showed the kidnapper running, child in arms, with Delicia chasing and Brenden not far behind.
Delicia’s screams alerted Dorothy Giddings, who was working at her antique store downtown.
"I said there is something wrong," Giddings recalled Tuesday.
"Then this man busts out and runs across the street and he’s got a baby and a little girl right behind him screaming," Giddings said. "The girl said, ‘That man got my baby brother! That man got my baby brother!’"
Giddings said she realized what was happening and sent her grandson Andrew Crane, 15, and his friend Isaac Yow, 16, to chase the man.
As the older boys approached, the kidnapper put the child down in a vacant lot and fled, the sheriff’s office said.
"He went around a corner and disappeared," Giddings said. "Somehow he disappeared from the face of the earth."
No vehicle was seen with the kidnapper, who is described by the sheriff’s office as about 30 years old, 6-foot to 6-foot-2, with a thin build, brown hair and a mustache.
"We are leaning on somebody coming through town," which sits along Interstate 90, a major east-west artery, Magers said.