Family happy to be in right place at right time to help abducted girl

December 12, 1990|By Kevin Thomas | Kevin Thomas,Evening Sun Staff

The corner of Furnace Avenue and Race Road in Elkridge appears to be a fairly isolated place.

With the bridge on Furnace Avenue closed and the road detoured, there isn't much in sight for at least a mile except woods, an old empty inn and one house.

A child, heading out in the wrong direction, could get lost for hours.

But such was not the fate of Lindsay Saxon, the 6-year-old Glen Burnie girl who was abducted from a playground near her home Sunday and driven to Howard County, where she escaped her captor near Furnace Avenue.

She wound up with a family that helped reunite her with her parents.

Dale Leroy Knight, 34, of Glen Burnie, surrendered to police yesterday and has been charged in connection with Lindsay Saxon's abduction and two previous cases of attempted kidnapping.

Patti Wecker, who lives with her husband, Stephen, and four children on Furnace Avenue, said Lindsay first asked a woman standing near the detour sign where she could find a bathroom.

The woman took Lindsay to the nearby inn, which is owned by the Weckers and is being renovated. A construction worker, after being told by Lindsay that she had been kidnapped, took the girl across the street to the Wecker home.

There, after calling police, Lindsay's parents came to take her home.

"It was like watching a TV show," Patti Wecker said last night, recalling the events of Sunday. "It almost didn't seem real."

As her own four children -- ranging in age from 2 months to 4 years -- played nearby, Wecker called her family's role in the Lindsay Saxon case a "blessing" and the result of "being in the right place at the right time."

"When he [the abductor] let her go, she could have walked in any direction," Wecker said. "She could have wandered into the woods and been lost for hours. But she wound up in our home."

Wecker described Lindsay as a pretty blond girl who was wearing barrettes, a headband, blue jeans and a blue sweater.

"She seemed fine," Wecker said. "If it was one of my kids, they probably would have been a basket case. But she wasn't crying and she gave us information. I think she probably felt safe because my kids were around.

"And, of course, the first thing we did was call the police, so I think she knew she would be all right."

Wecker said she and her husband moved to Furnace Avenue to seek a quieter life in a more rural area. The incident involving Lindsay, she said, hasn't made her feel they chose the wrong location or that their own children are less safe.

"You can't lead your life afraid," she said. "Besides, to be used in that way is a miracle.

"To have someone walk up the hill out of nowhere and to be able to perform a service for them, no matter how small, is a miracle."

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