TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was a scary afternoon Saturday for a Tullahoma mother whose little 3-year-old daughter was almost abducted from a local playground.
Thanks to the quick thinking of the little girl’s teenage cousin, Isobel Conant is safe.
Witnesses told police the man got out of a white van and walked over to a tree near the playground, which they thought was odd.
“She was swinging on the first swing over here,” mother Desiree Conant said.
Desiree told News 2 she decided to go get food for the family and left her sister to watch the kids at the park.
But when her sister’s nine-year-old child with autism wandered off, she turned for a split second and that’s when Isobel was nearly abducted.
“I had just picked up the food and got a phone call that someone tried to kidnap my child,” Desiree said.
Her nephew, Jerry Roberts, 14, first noticed the man dressed in a black hoodie, a hat, and sunglasses — so he kept an eye on him.
“He got out and sat behind the tree and I started watching him,” Jerry said.
Moments later, the man snatched Isobel off the swing.
Jerry ran down the slide and went after the suspect.
“I tackled him and then he kicked me in the chest and he got up and ran, and then I tackled him again, and we just fought for a little while,” Roberts said. “He kept kicking me and hitting me and after a while, I pulled a little pocket knife out and he ran away.”
It also scared the little girl’s mother.
“It’s terrifying because she’s my baby, she’s my world,” she said.
She said she’s thankful her nephew fought off the alleged kidnapper.
“My nephew is a hero, he saved my daughter,” Covant said.
Jerry was able to pull off one of the suspect’s gloves.
It was turned over to police as evidence.
Desiree is baffled that the man would try and kidnap her daughter near a busy street at a public playground.
“It’s dumbfounding actually because I can’t even image what thoughts were going through his head, trying to take a child in broad day light in an open place like this,” she said.
She added Isobel is too young to realize what almost happened to her.
“It hasn’t affected her in any way other than telling me her ankle hurt and her knee hurts when he dropped her when he was attacked for trying to take her,” she said.
The mother said she won’t be able to sleep at night until the suspect is captured.
Tullahoma police have been checking nearby businesses trying to get video of the suspect vehicle.
Witnesses said he was in an older model white van with no windows on the car doors.
There was a sticker of Iron Man in the back window.