PELHAM BAY, the Bronx — A mother says her family has been left traumatized after a man tried to kidnap her 3-year-old daughter on a Bronx street Monday afternoon.
The mother spoke with PIX11 News on Tuesday, but was still so rattled by what happened that she did not want to be identified or show her face on camera.
“I want to press charges because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.
The harrowing ordeal was captured on surveillance video. A man swooped down and grabbed the toddler, wrapping the child in a blanket he was carrying, and then took off, the heart-stopping video shows.
The child’s grandmother desperately tried to get the girl back. The entire time, the toddler’s twin brothers – just 5 years old – stood in shock as the man ran off with their sister.
When asked how the little girl was doing Tuesday afternoon, her mother said, “She is fine, she is too young to really fully grasp what happened to her.”
And the girl’s grandmother?
“Grandma is shaken,” she said. “We are still shaken but we are happy she is OK.”
The children were walking home with their grandmother around 1:20 p.m. after spending time in a park when Santiago Salcedo, 27, approached them at the corner of East Tremont and Baisley avenues, according to the family and police.
Good Samaritan Fermin Bracero happened to be nearby and heard the grandmother screaming. He was one of several people who sprung into action to help save the little girl.
“I went after him, about four people went after him. That’s when he let go of the girl. If it wasn’t for that, who knows what would have happened,” Bracero told PIX11 News.
Salcedo was initially able to get away, but police later arrested him. Officers found him a few hours later, sleeping in the doorway of a nearby restaurant, police sources said.
He allegedly told detectives “the voices in his head” told him to take the girl, according to police sources. Authorities believe he is homeless.
Salcedo was charged with kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child. Police said he does not have a criminal history, but could suffer from mental illness.
Bracero said he didn’t hear Salcedo say anything when he and other good Samaritans intervened.
Meanwhile, the mother of the little girl told PIX11 News while she wants justice for her daughter, she also wants Salcedo to get mental health assistance if he needs it.
“I want him to get help rather than him going to prison,” she said.
She also thanked the good Samaritans who jumped in to save her child.
As for Bracero, he’s just glad he was in the right place at the right time.
“I would do it anytime, again and again if I have to,” he said.
PIX11’s Mark Sundstrom, Aliza Chasan and Anthony DiLorenzo contributed to this report.