A man suspected of kidnapping a 6-year-old in Cleveland in May and attempting to snatch a 10-year-old in Elyria, Ohio, in February continues to baffle the FBI. After receiving hundreds of tips, the agency has no leads and will expand its search.
The FBI has received 325 tips about a man suspected of abducting a 6-year-old girl in Cleveland, but they’ve come up empty-handed, despite splashing the suspect’s picture across social media and advertising billboards.
Last Thursday, the FBI gave out more information about the kidnapping of the Cleveland 6-year-old girl for the first time by acknowledging that she had been harmed by her kidnapper.
"He didn't take her to have a tea party," FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson said. "He did things to her that we're not going to go into. But she was harmed. We're happy she's alive but they didn't play Barbies."
The Cleveland girl was held for roughly 17 hours with her attacker. She described the room she was held in as having a picture of a deer on the wall and told authorities that she heard a female voice asking her abductor if he wanted anything to eat.
Anderson said that they do not believe the woman was aware that the child was being held in the home, but it should intensify the search.
"Someone knows him," FBI spokeswoman Kelly Liberti told the Plain Dealer. "Someone was in the house with the girl."
That kidnapping is believed to be connected to an attempted abduction of a 10-year-old girl in northeast Ohio. On February 24, it is believed that the suspect went into the girl’s home and unlocked several doors and windows, the Plain Dealer reported. The next night, he tried to pull the girl out of the window by her legs. She was able to fight off her attacker and ran to her father for help.
A part of the difficulty the FBI has experienced is that they were unable to get a clear image of the suspect. The only pictures of him were taken by a surveillance camera in an alley near the home of the Cleveland girl a week before her kidnapping. The low quality of the image was not helped by the fact that he wore a hat, hood and sunglasses.
A composite sketch was also released, but it “looks like half the guys in Ohio,” Anderson told the Plain Dealer.
They also have photos of his vehicle but were unable to get a license plate number. This leaves the FBI struggling with more ambiguous information that has made finding solid leads difficult. They’ve narrowed the vehicle down to a dark colored 2002 or 2003 Chevy Malibu, but unfortunately that is also not an uncommon car.
The most distinguishable feature on the car is a lighter colored panel on the front driver’s side and an after-market spoiler on the back.
Who puts an after-market spoiler on a Malibu? There can't be that many vehicles that fit that description, and there must be thousands of people who have seen it. The FBI should be focusing attention on that spoiler and a photo of it should accompany the photo of the perv.
Law enforcement has reached out to chop shops and salvage yards to see if anyone had come across a similar vehicle, but they’ve had no luck so far.
There is a $20,000 reward for the abductor’s capture, and the FBI is encouraging anyone with information to come forward before the kidnapper tries again.
"Whoever he is, he's very dangerous," Liberti said. "And he's dangerous to anyone with a child."