Video surveillance helps find girl, 6, taken by woman

November 04, 2006|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun reporter

Baltimore police were crediting the city's video surveillance system yesterday for helping to quickly recover a 6-year-old girl who they said was snatched and dragged away while waiting for her father. .

Sedrick Scott, the girl's father, was preparing to take his daughter Shekinah to school Thursday morning when he realized he'd forgotten something in his house on Cordelia Avenue. He ran in quickly - and when he came outside, the girl was gone.

Scott searched his Central Park Heights neighborhood for about an hour and then called police.

"The dad is [in the home] with the door open. He is crying, he is upset. He's really hysterical," said Officer Theo D. Fleet, who responded to the call.

Fleet, who has two young children himself, said he immediately called for all officers on the shift, several police dogs and a police helicopter to search for the girl. Then he thought about videos.

"We have these crime cameras in the area," he said. He rushed the father to the Northwest Police District station and pulled up footage from the police cameras in the area about the time the girl disappeared.

"There it was," Fleet said. "We see, walking up the 3300 block of West Belvedere is the suspect. She is walking eastbound with the little girl." The father was able to identify his girl by her "Dora the Explorer" backpack.

Fleet sent officers to the block, and a man in the neighborhood told police he'd seen a girl go into a home. Police found her inside.

The father was thankful. "You could see the tears just falling from his eyes," Fleet said.

Police arrested Patricia Campbell, 47. She was charged with two counts of child abduction, two counts of kidnapping and one count of assault, police said.

Court records show Campbell was found guilty of a theft and drug charge last month, and was found guilty of drug charges in 2003 and 2004. "We learned the suspect had a mental illness. She had children before who were taken from her," Fleet said.

Fleet said that inside the house, police found the woman had a little dress and several dolls set out for the girl.

"Every officer looked at that child as their child. It was heartbreaking." Fleet said.

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