A North County man was arrested Sunday, accused of kidnapping his neighbor’s 2-year-old girl.
The toddler’s mother and grandfather reported the girl missing just before 6 p.m. from the family’s apartment at 17161 Alva Road in 4S Ranch, west of Rancho Bernardo.
Deputies searched the area for two hours using a helicopter along with officers from the San Diego Police Department.
During that time, a neighbor Douglas Schwerdt, contacted the child’s mother and told her he had the child.
Schwerdt is currently in custody with a bail set at $100,000. He is charged with felony kidnapping and felony burglary.
Earlier Sunday, the child’s mother told deputies she had refused Schwerdt’s request to take the girl on a hike.
Around 5 or 5:30 p.m., after the mother had left the apartment for an errand, Schwerdt knocked on the door but wasn’t allowed in by the toddler’s grandfather.
Somehow, deputies said, the grandfather was distracted and when he returned to the door, Schwerdt and the toddler were gone.
Deputies found the child with Schwerdt as he drove back to the complex. The two-year old victim appeared unharmed. Officials said she was returned to her mother.
Neighbors told NBCSanDiego that they’ve warned their children to stay away from Schwerdt.
Schwerdt, 35, lives in the same building as the child. He and the victim’s mother were friends but not dating according to deputies.
A sign posted in the neighborhood says there will be a community meeting Monday night, but the sign did not say what the meeting will address.
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