MIAMI (WSVN) - A 6-year-old girl shared her story after a man nearly abducted her as she played outside near her Miami home. The man has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and child abuse following the incident that was reported on July 6.
Detectives responded to the scene at 6530 N.E. 2nd Ave. after they were notified of the situation.
Ah’Lyric said that while playing with siblings in the apartment complex courtyard, they noticed a white, newer model SUV parked near their residence. As the other children went inside to get a drink of water, the victim remained on the rear stairway of their apartment.
According to the victim, the man, later identified as 32-year-old Leonardo Venegas, suddenly grabbed her arm and pulled her toward the rear of the stairs. The 6-year-old fought back and managed to break free from Venegas’s grip, but he then lifted the victim and attempted to carry her away.
In an act of self-defense, the child bit Venegas’s arm, causing him to drop her. Venegas then slapped the victim and fled toward the front of the apartment complex.
“He grabbed me, picked me up, and started running with me and I bit him and then he slapped me and threw me to the floor and started running to his car,” said Ah’Lyric.
Surveillance footage from the area corroborated the victim’s account as it showed a white Range Rover Velar pulling into the apartment complex and parking in the described area. Venegas was seen walking toward the rear of the complex with his left hand inside his shorts.
Moments later, he was captured on video running back toward the parking lot before the white Range Rover departed the scene.
“A white Hispanic male grabbed her by the arm, picked her up against her will, and attempted to flee the scene with her,” said Officer Kiara Delva with the Miami Police Department. “Fortunate enough, that 6-year-old brave little girl fought for her life she even bit the subject forcing him to drop her and let her go.”
Ah’Lyric’s mom, Teshia McGill, said the incident has her family shaken.
“I’m about to move because no telling what if,” said Teshia. “If he does get out, what if he tries to come back?”
When shown the surveillance footage, the victim confirmed that Venegas was the same person who had attempted to kidnap her.
The footage also tracked the white Range Rover leaving the vicinity of the incident, driving towards Biscayne Boulevard.
The vehicle was last seen on surveillance footage traveling northbound past 79th Street. The license plate of the vehicle was obtained from a license plate reader located at Biscayne Boulevard and 87th Street.
Teshia said she is proud of her daughter for defending herself.
“Many kids don’t know how to defend themselves, so I’m actually happy she was able to defend herself,” she said.
On Saturday, the Tactical Robbery Unit located the white Range Rover bearing the license plate at a specified location. Venegas was then taken into custody and transported to the Robbery Unit for further investigation.
During a videotaped interview, Venegas was read his constitutional rights and waived them, agreeing to speak with the detectives. He admitted to being the sole operator of the vehicle involved and placed himself at the scene of the incident. Venegas claimed he was searching for houses to buy in the complex, despite the absence of any for-sale signs, as the complex falls under HUD housing.
Venegas acknowledged being the individual captured in the surveillance footage walking in the complex and subsequently seen running away from the area of the incident. However, when pressed for further details regarding his interaction with the victim, Venegas invoked his right to an attorney.
Venegas has been arrested and is currently in custody pending further legal proceedings. He also has an immigration hold.
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