Saturday, July 20, 2024

Law Enforcement Investigating Attempted Kidnapping at Last Night’s Chili Cook-off in Ukiah

Emergency police traffic featured
[Stock image by Matt LaFever]

The Ukiah Police Department is actively investigating what a mother is characterizing as an attempted kidnapping last night, Friday, September 9, 2022, that took place at the Alex Thomas Plaza during the annual Chili Cook-Off.

The child’s mother, who requested we withhold her and her daughter’s identity, told us while enjoying the event an unknown male jogged up to her two-year-old daughter, grabbed her by the hand, and began to leave the area with her. His attempts to take the child were thwarted when the mother and a friend intervened and grabbed the daughter, after which the man fled the area on foot. 

The man, described by the mother as a “very tan male, approximately 5’ 10”, 200-220 lbs, aged 35-45, wearing a brown tank top, tan shorts” initially “jogged up jovial and headed straight for [the two-year-old].” He took the child’s left hand saying, “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.”

She described the man as “so sly and so quick” which shocked her daughter who didn’t scream while being led away by the stranger. 

When he was confronted by the mother and her friend, the man was “startled by us grabbing her back…he became serious and jogged off.”

The mother noted the man, “did not say anything to explain grabbing her.” She told us, “A man ‘trying to help’ would have been relieved that his parents were right there if he thought he was taking her away to help her.  He said nothing.”

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Soon after the mother called 911 and began searching the area for the man who was nowhere to be found.

Sergeant Ronald Donohue of the Ukiah Police Department confirmed officers responded last night to reports of a man picking a child up and attempting to leave the area with the child before a parent intervened. He told us investigators continue to seek information about the circumstances.

The suspect, according to the mother, was a tan, white man with short brown hair. He had “stubbly facial hair” and wore a “brown tank top/wife beater and tan shorts.” 

The mother told us she has posted her experience on social media out of concern that “he’ll do it to another child.”

Sergeant Donohue reminded the community to always be cognizant of the safety and whereabouts of their children and asked that if anyone has information about the man at the Chili Cook-off to contact the Ukiah Police Department at (707) 463-6242.

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  1. Quick google search Reuters
    28% of kidnappings are done by strangers.
    40% of kidnapped children are killed
    In 2020 there were more than 400,000 reports of abducted children in U.S.
    The most common age group is under six
    although many are taken walking, riding bikes or playing on the sidewalk.
    Fucking sickos out there.

    • are you serious? I’m a victim times two being beat down by my husband times two. And that’s all you got out of this I can’t my feeders old time still get over it is a child that almost got kidnapped. Go back to therapy sounds like you’re not over yours room

  2. Makes you not want to attend anything in Ukiah, including shopping there. I think the perps have spread the word it’s catch and release in Ukiah!

  3. ? I’m NOT trying to be down on the mother but how about screaming at the top of your lungs…..HELP!! KIDNAPPER!! This stranger is trying TO TAKE my child!! We simply cannot allow this mofo to get away and be free to attempt this again!! Im sorry (not sorry), but a warped individual like this cannot be fixed or rehabbed! Police were present.The Sheriff was on scene. Plenty of people, myself included, would have been MORE than happy to take this lowlife down and give him the “attention” ???? he needs before the police arrest him and/or the coroner has to be called! ? The good thing is that so MANY people were taking pictures and video all evening. To get to the cook-off he had to pass multiple camera’s!! He is definitely on somebody’s phone or on multiple businesses camera’s. The drone that was flying might have filmed him also? It makes me SICK to my stomach to think what the outcome would have been if he was successful in his attempt!! I have faith that law enforcement is on it and his capture is inevitable! POS MOFO!


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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