MONROE — An 18-year-old homeless man was arrested Sunday and is scheduled to be arraigned today after he allegedly attempted to kidnap a 7-year-old Monroe boy by pulling him into a wooded area on South Monroe Street near Jones Avenue, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.
A 14-year-old boy is being hailed as a hero in the case.
Deputies said the 7-year-old had ridden his bicycle to the area with a group of his friends to eat in a fast-food restaurant between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, and that the suspect had joined with the boys and eaten with them. After they finished eating at the fast-food restaurant, the suspect and the 7-year-old rode ahead of the group and the suspect allegedly tried to drag the boy into the wooded lot south of the Kroger shopping plaza on South Monroe Street in Monroe Township.
The 7-year-old was saved by one of his friends, a 14-year-old boy, who saw the alleged attempt and pushed the suspect away, deputies said. The suspect claimed to be the 7-year-old’s father, but the group of boys ran away and informed their parents of the incident that had occurred, the sheriff’s department said. Authorities did not identify the man but said he had ties to Monroe, Temperance, and the Petersburg areas.
Deputies said the 14-year-old was part of the original group, but had gone to a different restaurant. He was returning when, from a distance, he saw the suspect pulling on the boy’s arm trying to jerk him into the woods. “The witness raced to the 7-year-old boy’s aid and intervened, pushing the suspect,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said.
The parents contacted the police at 11 p.m. Saturday. Deputies searched the area without success.
Detectives found the suspect sleeping in a tent in the area Sunday morning. He is being held in Monroe County jail.