FOSTORIA -- A Fostoria woman was still shaken up hours after she reported fighting off a stranger who was trying to abduct her 5-year-old grandson on a Fostoria street.
Paulette Barchus, 56, said in a halting voice that the attack occurred this morning as she and her grandson, Brayden Martin, a kindergartener at Longfellow Elementary School, walked home from school after he was not feeling well and was sent home.
"I am starting to calm down. And the boy is fine. At first he was crying but I got him to calm down, " she said about five hours after the alleged attack. "I am very mad at the person who tried to hurt my grandson... He needs to get some major help, because nobody in his right mind would do something like that to a child."
Fostoria police said Mrs. Barchus was walking with the boy on South Town Street near the railroad crossing about 10:20 a.m. when a white van with no windows pulled over. Police said the man then got out of the vehicle, came up to the boy, and tried to snatch him, at which time the woman grabbed onto the boy and kicked the man until he let go off him.
The man then got back into the van and sped off, according to police. The van was last seen southbound on Columbus Avenue toward East Lytle Street.
"We were walking down the street when a van stopped right in the middle of the street and a man got out and started running toward us and then he grabbed Brayden's arm," Mrs. Barchus said.
"Then I said, 'You need to get off his arm,' and the man wouldn't listen and just kept tugging on his arm, and then I stared kicking him. Then I told him, 'If you don't let go off my grandson's arm, I'll kick you elsewhere,' and then he let go," she said.
Police described the assailant as a black man in his 20s, of thin build, about 6 feet tall, clean-shaven, with short hair and close to being bald. He was wearing faded blue jeans with a rip across the left knee, a heather gray T-shirt, and black tennis shoes, police said.
The van was an older model, possibly a full-size Ford, officers said.
"The Fostoria police department is very concerned in reference to this [incident]," Sgt. Kent Reinbolt, of Fostoria police, said. "If anyone sees the van or the person matching the description, make sure to give us a call, let us know, and we'll follow up on it."
Sergeant Reinbolt said Fostoria police do not know whether the vehicle in question is the same as the white van that was reported by students to Sylvania police twice in February or the white van reported to Toledo police in March by a 17-year-old girl, who told officers a man tried to lure her into the vehicle in the 2600 block of West Sylvania Avenue in West Toledo.
Fostoria, a city in Hancock, Seneca, and Wood counties, is about 35 miles southeast of Toledo.