Abducted 8-year-old Texas girl found safe in hotel after church members report suspect's vehicle, kidnapper arrested
A man reportedly grabbed Salem Sabatka from the street and put her in his vehicle. The girl's mother jumped into the car and 'fought ferociously' but she was pushed out by the man as he drove away
An eight-year-old girl from Texas, who was abducted while she was walking with her mother, was found early on Sunday, May 19, after two church members spotted the suspect's vehicle, according to police. Authorities called off a desperate search for the girl after they nabbed the suspect on Sunday.
The Fort Worth Police Department took to Twitter just before 2.30 am and said that Salem Sabatka was found safe at a hotel in the Fort Worth suburb of Forest Hill and that the suspect has been taken into custody.
Police spokesperson Buddt Calzada, while talking to reporters, said: "I wasn't near the family, but I was listening on the radio when this came out and I was screaming and clapping. So I can tell you if I was screaming and clapping as an officer here in Fort Worth just listening in, it's unbelievable what the family was thinking."
The girl was kidnapped on Saturday, May 18, just after 6.30 pm, while she was walking with her mother. A man reportedly grabbed Sabatka from the street and put her in his vehicle. The girl's mother jumped into the car and "fought ferociously" but she was pushed out by the man as he drove away, according to Fox News.
A neighbor's doorbell camera captured the moment Sabatka's mother was thrown out of the vehicle, according to police. Shortly after the incident, authorities issued an Amber Alert for the girl, along with a description of the suspect's vehicle, which was a gray four-door sedan.
Two members of a local church called authorities on Sunday, saying they had spotted the car with the exact same description at a hotel in Forest Hill.
Calzada praised the alert church members for their actions and said it was a "phenomenal feeling" to help locate the eight-year-old. Reports stated that the church members, who have not yet been identified, had seen the pictures of the missing girl on social media and the description of the car and they decided to go out on their own in an attempt to help authorities find the suspect's vehicle.
The police spokesperson said: "They're our heroes tonight. We had citizens that went out of their way to help find them."
Officers reportedly arrived at the hotel and located the room where the suspect was staying. They found the girl inside who appeared to be in good condition. She was taken to a local hospital nearby to be evaluated by a doctor.
The suspect was identified as 51-year-old Michael Webb. He is not a relative of the child and is facing aggravated kidnapping charges.