San Diego

‘Drop the Baby': Family Describes Attempted Kidnapping in Vista

A father confronted a man who was carrying his two-year-old child out of their Vista home late Monday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said. 

The interrupted kidnapping on Barbara Drive near S. Santa Fe Drive was reported to SDSO at about 10:40 p.m.

The family was getting their three children ready for bed when they noticed their youngest, a two-year-old girl, was missing.

Maria Mejia said she heard her husband scream to her from the living room to call 911 when he realized the man had entered their home and snatched their daughter. 

Meanwhile, her husband chased the man as he took off over a fence in the backyard.

Their son Arturo Herrera said, "My dad was lucky enough to see a foot go over the doggie fence and he came outside and said, 'drop the baby, drop the baby,' and then [the man] dropped her slowly and made a mad dash."

The father came back into the home to give the toddler to Mejia and then sprinted back outside to find the man, but it was too late; the man had hopped the fence and left, Herrera said. 

When deputies arrived, they conducted a search with K-9s for the suspect but he could not be located. The suspect is described as a 6-foot-tall man weighing about 180 pounds. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a black sweater, a black hat and white shoes, possibly Converse. 

"Although we have limited information, the Sheriff’s Department wants the community to be aware of this investigation, which is still underway, for public safety," SDSO said in a news release. 

The family says they had never seen the man before.

The door was unlocked at the time of the attempted kidnapping because the family had just wrapped up a family gathering at their home, Mejia said. 

Anyone with information on the case was asked to call SDSO at 858-565-5200 or anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tips that lead to an arrest may be eligible for a $1,000 reward. 

No other information was available.

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