A New York mother foiled an attempted kidnapping this week after she managed to pull her 5-year-old boy out of an abductor’s car window seconds before it sped away.
The youngster was snatched by a 24-year-old man off the sidewalk at 117-02 Hillside Avenue in the Richmond Hill section of Queens around 8 p.m. on Thursday, according to the New York City Police Department.
The 5-year-old boy, who was running down the street steps ahead of his mother and a group of people, was suddenly grabbed by the driver of a maroon car, who forcibly hauled him into the vehicle. Chilling video of the incident shows the motorist, identified as James McGonagle, leap out of his car, scoop up the meandering child, and place him in the backseat.
Immediately, the boy’s family frantically swarmed the car. Dolores Diaz, the child’s mother, attempted to open one of the car’s doors but was unable to pry it open. Surveillance footage of the encounter shows a second individual in the passenger seat of the suspected kidnapper’s car.
“It’s quick,” Diaz told NBC New York. “And I say, ‘Oh my god, my kids, please!’ When the people come and take him…I want to open the car but I can’t.”
Prior to the car speeding off, Diaz’s son managed to open a back window, she said. The New York mother then managed to reach inside the car and yank her 5-year-old child away from the suspected abductors.
Diaz said that her screaming attracted others, one of whom called the police.
A number of bystanders attempted to stop the car as it fled the scene. The boy was unharmed in the incident, police said.
Diaz told local reporters her son’s alleged kidnapper didn’t say anything before brazenly pouncing on the child. Hours after the attempted kidnapping, the 5-year-old was playing video games safely from the comfort of his home. His mother, however, was deeply rattled by the disturbing encounter.
“I’m scared,” Diaz added.
McGonagle was later taken into police custody. He was charged with attempted kidnapping, reckless endangerment, and acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17.
The 24-year-old has also been charged with assaulting an officer in custody. Following his arrest, McGonagle allegedly punched a police officer who was attempting to fingerprint him at Brookdale Hospital, according to WABC-TV.
Nearby convenience store workers said they recognized McGonagle as a past customer.
“He’s come in, one guy, he’s buying a beer, Budweisers,” Kenny Patel told CBS New York.
The second suspect, described as McGonagle’s accomplice, who was seated in the passenger seat of the car used in the botched kidnapping, is still at large, according to law enforcement. No further information was released by investigators.
It’s unclear if McGonagle has retained legal counsel. Attorney information for him wasn’t immediately available on Tuesday.
Anyone with additional information related to this incident is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-477-TIPS.