Neighbors thwart alleged abduction
By John Joyce
Published in News on August 10, 2014 1:50 AM
Investigators say they have no idea how a 4-year-old ended up with a man in the Seven Springs area Wednesday.
Oscar Juarez Perez, 40, is charged with felonious restraint and abduction of a child and is being held in the Wayne County Jail under a $500,000 secured bond.
He and the victim are not related, according to authorities.
"We don't know how he came to be in custody of the child," Capt. Richard Lewis said Friday.
Perez's neighbors are accustomed to him doing what they call "weird things" around his home at 117 Jimmy's Drive, Lewis said.
Yet they were caught off-guard when they looked out their windows and saw Perez with the little girl when he has never had a child around the house before.
Lewis said the neighbors saw Perez take the girl inside his home for about 20 minutes, then come back outside and relieve himself in the yard.
In the next few minutes, they managed to get the girl away from Perez, but Lewis did not know how they did so.
He said there was a language barrier, which prevented investigators from understanding every aspect of the incident.
"(The neighbors) asked the girl if she knew (Perez) and she said she had no idea who he was. They asked if he had hurt her in any way and she said he'd only hurt her arm when he pulled her into his car," Lewis said.
Once the neighbors had the child safely away from Perez, they began to go around the neighborhood looking for the child's parents. They took a photo and sent it around the neighborhood.
Lewis said the neighbors eventually came to a church where a service was going on and someone there recognized the child.
Once they got in contact with the mother, they realized she had been out looking for her child for an hour and a half.
Authorities do not know for how long the child was missing before the mother noticed and began to search on her own for the missing girl.
"Her kids were across the street playing in the pool with the neighbor's kids. This girl came back to the house because she'd gotten wet somehow. She changed clothes and told her mother she was going back across the street," Lewis said.
Her mother said, "OK," Lewis said, but she did not see her daughter again until the concerned citizens who rescued her brought her home.
Perez, who authorities say was intoxicated at the time of his arrest, immediately asked for a lawyer, meaning police could no longer question him.
Investigators said the decision was made to charge Perez partly because he had the means to contact someone and tell them he was in custody of this child for safekeeping but he did not.
A court date has not yet been set for Perez.