Police have arrested a Kansas woman who allegedly attempted to kidnap two children at an Atlanta airport on Saturday as their parents fought her off. The incident was captured on surveillance video.
The couple and their three children were walking through the atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport when they encountered 26-year-old Esther Daniels standing by herself, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A 12-minute video released by the Atlanta Police Department shows Daniels approach the mother and try to wrestle away a stroller where the couple’s baby daughter is sitting. Daniels is seen grabbing the stroller’s handle as the mom attempts to fend her off.
The father, who was wheeling the couple’s toddler nearby, is seen stopping in his tracks and watching the situation for a few seconds. When it becomes clear his family is in crisis, he walks over and fends off Daniels, too.
At this point, the woman lets go of the stroller and sets her sights on the couple’s oldest child, a 6-year-old boy. In the video, she is seen picking him up and trying to carry him away from his parents in a tug-of-war that ended with the dad bringing his son back to safety.
Finally, someone identified by WTOC 11 as a police officer intervenes, and Daniels attempts to make a quick exit. Within minutes, police were able to catch up with the woman, who they said was “in a frenzied state” and “experiencing mental distress.”
She allegedly “was speaking unintelligibly on her cellphone” and tried to lunge at the family again before police officers tackled her to the ground and arrested her. Daniels fought back, though, and even had to be physically restrained by three officers, according to a police report.
“Ms. Daniels continued to fight to make her way back toward the kids,” an arresting officer said, “and I had to bring Ms. Daniels down toward the ground to keep her from getting back toward the victims.”
Once they were able to subdue Daniels, officers took her in a wheelchair to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she was given a clean bill of health. She was then escorted to the police precinct and booked into Clayton County Jail, where she is being held without bond.
Daniels has been charged with kidnapping and obstructing an officer. She is scheduled to appear before a Clayton County judge for a preliminary hearing on July 11.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the children sustained no physical injuries from the attempted kidnapping.
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