Snatched by a Stranger


tags: Kidnapping, NSW,

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By Rod Smith

From the September 2018 issue of the APJ.

Samantha was a happy six-year-old girl, living with her mother in Wagga Wagga, in a modest three-bedroom home. Samantha had no siblings and her father was estranged, living in Queensland. She was close to her mother’s side of the family who also lived in Wagga Wagga. Samantha’s mother, Karen, and Karen’s father Jack, Samantha’s grandfather, played an integral role in the little girl’s upbringing and care.

Sunday 14 February 2010 was Valentine’s Day. It was a warm, sunny day. Karen and Samantha didn’t have any plans for the day. Karen awoke feeling sick with a sore throat, while Samantha casually got breakfast and dressed for the day. Karen asked her brother-in-law, Paul, to pick up some medication from the pharmacy to ease her sore throat. He delivered the medicine, said a quick hello to Samantha and left. 

About 11.00am that day, Samantha went out the front of the house and began riding her scooter on the footpath. Karen was cleaning the house and looked out to check on Samantha as she moved between rooms. About 11.20am, she saw Samantha sitting on the front steps of the house. Being a single-storey dwelling, this consisted of only about three to four concrete steps to a small porch at the front door. 

The house was hidden from the road by a tall, neatly trimmed hedge along the front. The only visibility between the house and the street was through the driveway which was situated to one side of the property. The house was in a safe area and the yard was quite secure. 

By that time of the morning, there were crowds of people in a nearby park enjoying Valentine’s Day and the weekend sunshine. 

About 11.30am, a white, dual-cab utility drove slowly up the street, stopping outside the home of Karen and Samantha. The driver, upon seeing Samantha sitting alone on the front steps, stopped the car but left it idling. The car was stopped on the wrong side of the street, with the driver’s door beside the gutter. He got out and walked into the front yard, walking up to Samantha. He asked her: “Where’s your mummy?” She pointed inside. In a flash, the man grabbed Samantha around her neck and shoulders, lifting her from the steps. He quickly carried her towards his utility out the front. While moving, he changed his grip and placed his arms around Samantha, holding her around the waist, under his arm.

Samantha screamed, “Mummy! Mummy!” which instantly alerted Karen. She looked out the window to see a stranger carrying her terrified daughter out her driveway towards the street. Samantha was petrified and continued to scream. 

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