Every parent fears a moment like the one suffered by an Indiana father in June 2017. On a warm evening at around 6:15 p.m., a stranger attempted to abduct the father’s young son from right in front of his home. However, this would-be kidnapper wasn’t prepared for a dad ready to do anything to protect his child.
On that June evening, Ron Kraus had been preparing for his son Ryker’s first birthday. In fact, he’d been busy assembling a new toy he’d got. Kraus said, “I was trying to put a John Deere tractor trailer together that I bought him for his birthday.”
Subsequently, both father and son had been outside in the front yard when Kraus noticed a van on the opposite side of the road. Eventually, the vehicle moved and parked at the end of Kraus’ driveway instead. That was when the driver stepped out and approached the house.
To begin with, nothing about the man seemed out of the ordinary. He walked up to Kraus and explained that he was having trouble with the van’s radiator. Consequently, he asked if he could have some water so that he could try to cool down the overheating part.
As it happened, Kraus had just the thing. He’d bought a case of water for his son’s birthday party and it was sitting right there, just inside his front door. He said, “I figured I would give him some water and off he’d go.” However, as Kraus turned to get the water, his worst nightmare began.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the man suddenly grab Ryker. In the time it took Kraus to step inside his house, the man had scooped up the boy and was running back to his car at the end of the driveway. However, he hadn’t counted on how strongly Kraus would defend and protect his son.
Not only did the would-be abductor have Ryker under his arm, but he was also trying to stuff the child into a duffel bag. However, in spite of the head start he had on Ryker’s dad, the man did not get far. Kraus managed to catch the abductor and put a stop to the kidnapping.
Kraus recalls, “I was able to get a hit in on him and at the time I thought he was unconscious. My son fell on the ground, I checked to see that he was okay and rushed him in the house.” Once inside, Kraus put his son in his stroller before reaching for the phone and dialling 911.
Unfortunately, while Kraus was ensuring his son’s safety and calling the authorities, the would-be abductor made his escape. And although Kraus tried to pursue the man, he had already begun pulling away in his minivan. Ryker’s dad was left stunned.
Kraus said, “For a guy just to come up and try to take my son at my house, in my yard… just take him right in front of me and run off, I mean he’s going to try it somewhere else and maybe be more successful. It’s a pretty scary thought.” For this reason, police have made the case a priority.
The authorities have released more details in hopes of tracking down the would-be kidnapper. They put together a sketch of the individual in question and told journalists that the man was driving a 1990s Ford Aerostar that was either gray or silver.
Furthermore, he is described as being a 5’11” white male around 45 years of age and weighing 200 pounds. He had beard stubble and was wearing a white T-shirt. There didn’t appear to be anything particularly out of the ordinary in his appearance.
Consequently, the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office told the public that, while they should be wary, this isn’t a common occurrence. Captain Michael Kellems said, “I know it’s happened around Northwest Indiana and Northern Illinois in the past, but nothing where somebody’s come up [like this].”
Additionally, the Sheriff’s department were quick to exonerate the father of any wrongdoing. Captain Kellems said, “A lot of people are being really critical of this father for turning his back on his son, but it was literally for one second… and when he turned around the suspect made a move for it.”
Unfortunately, the key to this story is that the suspect was able to escape as Kraus was securing his son. Ultimately, the man could be on the prowl looking for another opportunity to snatch a child from their unwitting parents. Kraus said, “I hope they stop him before he does it again.”
Although the Laporte County Sheriff’s Office revealed that there were two other recent incidents involving strangers approaching children, neither case seemed connected. Despite the heightened alert, then, officers were able to say that the suspect had likely moved on. They added that there was no imminent threat.
Be that as it may, this isn’t the first time someone has managed to thwart an attempted kidnapping. In June 2016 a Florida mom managed to stop a man from dragging her 13-year-old daughter out of a convenience store. Allegedly, the man tried to take the girl and was stopped by a “tug of war.”
When the man, named as Craig Bonello, couldn’t wrench the girl away from her mother, he fled the store. This time though, the would-be abductor wasn’t going to escape so easily. In fact, he ran straight out of the store and was arrested by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.
Later, the local sheriff’s office released a statement to the press about the event. Sergeant Craig Callahan said, “In my ten years on the road I have never seen anything like this… he truly intended to abduct this child right in front of everyone in the store.”
Additionally, Commander Buddy Grant from the sheriff’s office said, “Thank goodness the girl’s mother jumped into action to prevent this man from kidnapping her daughter… and thank goodness [the deputy] used his training and experience to stop this man from escaping.”