Ty Swenson
King County Sheriff's Office investigators, including a "mantracker" on the left, were closely evaluating the scene of an attempted child abduction in unincorporated King County near White Center on June 3. The abduction attempt of a three year old had occurred the evening before.

Mom saves child from broad daylight abduction attempt

The motherly instincts of a 32-year-old woman saved her three-year-old son from an early evening abduction attempt on the quiet 10400 block of 3rd Ave. S.W. (in unincorporated King County, near White Center) on June 2.

Corey Hines and his wife Melissa had just returned from Olympia with their three and five year old sons and were preparing to take advantage of an ideal early summer evening by firing up the barbeque and playing in the yard, just as many surrounding neighbors were doing. It was just before 6 p.m.

Melissa (who chose not to give her last name in a media interview on June 3) said she was having a lighthearted footrace with her three year old to the strawberry bush in the backyard when a festive family gathering turned dangerous.
In a flash, the mother said a lanky man dressed in all black, including a ski mask and gloves, came around the corner of the house with her son in his arms.

A black eye, a few broken nails, several bumps on the head and a safe son later, Melissa was able to talk about the event the following day.

“The guy came from behind me, he already had my son in his hands … and I kind of like looked, stopped for a second stunned … and then I kind of went after him and he took a couple of steps and he fell … and my son hit the ground.”

Melissa jumped onto her son at that point, protecting him from the man in whatever way she could.

“It seems like he was trying to get him or he was upset that I had stopped him maybe, and that’s when he started hitting and punching me and I continued to kick and punch him back and try to get him away from me.”

The punches and kicks stopped and Melissa held tight to the ground, ensuring no one could get to her child. She heard the rattle of a chain link fence and, looking up cautiously, realized the abductor was gone. Her son stayed still and silent and it was all over within a minute.

“I know it happened in a very short period of time, but at the same time I didn’t think it was ever going to end,” she said.

Melissa grabbed her uninjured son and ran around the house to find her five year old and husband. Around the other side of the home the entire time, they were oblivious to the battle that had just occurred. Melissa believed her black eye was from a kick to the face, and assessing her own hands used to fight back, realized several nails she had gotten done the day before were broken off. The assailant hadn’t said a word, only grunting in a male tone during the struggle.

Once the family was safe inside they locked all the doors and called 911.

“As soon as we took off and ran inside, (my son) started to cry then. He said, ‘That was a bad man,’ and we were like, “Yes, he was a very bad man.’ My other son said that he wanted to go outside so he could find him because he knows taekwondo.”

“We had only been home five minutes (before the attempted abduction)” Melissa’s husband Corey,39, said, making him wonder if the man was hiding in their yard when they got home. He said the family feels “OK” today, and put their son into daycare for the day to keep him from the house and media circus.

The suspect in this case, according to the investigating King County Sheriff’s Office, “is described as tall and ‘lanky’ and was wearing a black ski mask, black clothing and black gloves. The age or race of the suspect is not known, but the mom believes the suspect was a man due to the grunting noises he made during the struggle.”

A K-9 unit and several patrol officers responded to the attempted abduction but were unable to find a suspect. The next day, KCSO “mantrackers” were at the home investigating every square inch of the property in hopes of finding a trail or other pieces of evidence. KCSO Sgt. Cindi West said the same trackers were those who found the trail leading to murder suspect Peter Keller’s bunker near North Bend in 2012, after he allegedly shot and killed his wife and daughter.

A neighbor who has lived near the attempted abduction home for 37 years and goes by Clancy said he was having a barbeque with children and grandchildren at the same time the crime occurred.

Clancy said nothing like this has ever happened in the neighborhood, but he’s not necessarily in a heightened state of alarm, stating he would still bring his grandchildren over and continue on with life as before. At the same time, he wants this guy caught.

“They are tying everybody’s hands who are involved in law enforcement,” Clancy said, concerned budget cuts will keep police from having the necessary resources to track the suspect down.

“The perpetrators have always got the element of surprise,” he said, “If you could predict what was going to happen it would be a different world.”

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