A 32-year-old Miami man who allegedly tried to abduct a 6-year-old girl at an apartment complex was unsuccessful as the minor fought back by biting his arm before eventually escaping her attacker’s grasp, police said.
According to NBC News, the victim, identified as Ah’lyric, was with her siblings in the complex’s courtyard on Thursday when Leonardo Venegas briefly abducted the minor after they spotted a parked white Range Rover close to the apartment, an arrest affidavit stated.
Venegas, 32, is said to have grabbed the 6-year-old while she remained outside after her siblings went inside. “She stated that she was suddenly grabbed by the arm … and pulled toward the rear of the stairs. The victim began to fight back and pulled away from the defendant. The defendant then picked up the victim and began to carry her away,” the affidavit stated.
“The victim bit the defendant on the arm causing him to drop her. The defendant slapped the victim and ran away towards the front of the apartment complex,” the affidavit added. “The victim ran around the building towards the front to tell her aunt what had just occurred.”
Venegas was ultimately arrested on Saturday and charged with kidnapping and child abuse causing no great bodily harm. The suspect, who remained in jail as of Tuesday and was denied bond on the kidnapping charge, was additionally put on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold, NBC News reported.
In an interview with NBC Miami, Ah’lyric said her mother taught her the self-defense strategy she used on her alleged abductor. “I bit him,” she said, while her mother, Teshia McGill, stated she was “glad” her daughter “knew how to fight back.”
Security cameras captured both Venegas and the white Range Rover around the apartment not too long before the 6-year-old victim was grabbed, the affidavit stated, adding that the minor also confirmed Venegas as her attacker when she reviewed images that were taken from the footage.
During interrogation with investigators, after the Range Rover was located on Saturday, Venegas admitted he was the driver of the SUV and was around the area of the abduction. He, however, claimed he had gone there to look “for houses to buy.”
The affidavit stated that there were no properties listed for sale at the said location and the complex is a Department of Housing and Urban Development-supported housing. Venegas also admitted he was the individual captured walking in the complex. He, however, claimed he took to his heels after he heard an individual screaming, NBC News reported. The suspect demanded an attorney when he was questioned about the 6-year-old.
“This is a case that has us extremely worried, concerned, something that’s not very common,” Miami Police Capt. Freddie Cruz told NBC Miami. “Luckily we were able to apprehend this individual.”
“If you’re going to be playing outside, which is a wonderful thing, please, try to play in groups, try to have an adult present, some sort of supervision, know where your children or if you’re a guardian, know where they are at,” Cruz also advised.
He also urged people who have information on Venegas to get in touch with authorities. “This is obviously something very disturbing, again, something that’s not very common in the city of Miami,” he said.