FOREST PARK, Ohio – A neighbor who called 911 and reported a kidnapping and attack Monday night helped police quickly recover the 15-month-old girl and arrest one of the suspects.
"We heard screaming, and this lady across the street had blood on her face and she was screaming someone took her baby," the neighbor, Ashley Schaper, told WCPO Tuesday morning.
Schaper said she was taking out the trash about 10 p.m. when her neighbor across Kemper Meadow Drive came home from grocery shopping.
"They came up to her and hit her in the head with the gun,” Schaper told 911. She identified their vehicle as a white Ford Explorer.
"I was in a slight panic mode myself,” Schaper said. “If it was my kid, I would have been in the exact same spot. I would have been freaking out.”
According to police, the victim said she saw a white SUV parked in front of her house when she returned with her kids, ages 8 and 15 months, and a 16-year-old family friend.
"She felt very suspicious," said Forest Park Chief Phil Cannon. "She saw the car. She told her kids to run into the house and hide. As she ran toward the door, I think she tried to close the door on them. They actually forced their way into her residence and started demanding money."
Three armed men robbed her of $2,400 and demanded more money, according to an officer's affidavit. Then they took her daughter, still in her car seat, and drove off.
Cannon said he had never heard of anything so brazen.
"And to go ahead and say, 'Well, until you get that money, we're going to take that child,' that was pretty bizarre and frightening to us because I've never heard of that in my years," Cannon said.
Schaper's description of the SUV led to a brief police chase on southbound Interstate 75 and ended in Springfield Township when the four suspects bailed out on Witherby Avenue.
One of the four suspects, Anquan Williams, 19, was arrested and charged with kidnapping and aggravated burglary. The other three suspects are still at large and Forest Park police asked for help in identifying them at (513) 595-5220.
"You better hope that kid is all right," a police officer is heard telling Williams on body cam footage released Tuesday night.
Forest Park police believe the suspects knew the victim and targeted the house for the crime, according to Lt. Rick Jones. Just before Williams left, he told the victim to have her boyfriend give him a call, the officer's affidavit said.
The 15-month-girl was found safe in the SUV, according to police. She was taken to Children’s Hospital as a precaution and later reunited with her mother.
A Springfield Township K-9 unit started tracking the suspects, but had to rest due to the heat and length of the track and asked Green Township to take over.
Green Township police dog Dino collapsed and stopped breathing just before midnight as he was starting to track the suspects, according to Green Township Chief James Vetter.
Vetter said Dino's unexpected death was due to a medical event.
"He had a reputation as an outstanding police canine and very much loved his work. He will be sorely missed," Vetter said.
Dino was a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois/Shepherd mix trained in narcotic detection and tracking. He had been with Green Township police since 2011. Ohio State's Veterinary Medical Center will conduct a necropsy to determine cause of death.