A baby's family had an emotional reunion with the boy after he was found safe after surveillance cameras captured a woman kidnapping him from the King of Prussia Mall in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Thursday.
Police announced late Thursday night that the 7-week-old boy was found safe and the woman accused of kidnapping him was arrested after a five-hour ordeal. Charges against the woman, who has not yet been identified, were pending early Friday with an arraignment planned for 1:30 p.m. NBC10 will carry a LIVE news conference following the arraignment.
The ordeal began around 5:30 p.m. Thursday when Upper Merion Township Police responded to the food court area of the King of Prussia plaza for a reported abduction. The boy's family told police the boy had been kidnapped by a stranger at the mall. [[374244211, C]]
The boy's mother told police the suspect befriended her and her children and they all went to the food court together. When the boy began to cry, the suspect asked the mother if she could calm him down. The suspect then held the boy as the mom took a phone call, according to investigators. The suspect then walked out of the mall cradling the boy in her arms, police said. ((*NOTE: Police later said the mother never allowed the suspect to hold her baby and instead the suspect took him out of his stroller. NEW DETAILS HERE))
"The child began to fuss and the suspect asked to hold the child to calm him," Upper Merion Police Chief Tom Nolan said. "While dealing with those other children on the phone our suspect walks off with the baby from the food court."
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Police said the suspect walked up a set of stairs and then walked by the Bonefish Grill before exiting the mall. Surveillance video shows the suspect leaving the mall with the baby boy in her arms. [[374213071, C]]
Police stopped cars as they left the mall as well as SEPTA buses. The FBI assisted with the search and an AMBER ALERT was issued both on television and through push notifications Thursday night. Police searched for the baby in Montgomery and Chester counties.[[374241561, C]]
During a news conference around 10:30 p.m., police announced the boy had been found safe and the woman accused of kidnapping him was in custody. Police said the suspect and baby were both found inside a home on the 900 block of Upper Gulph Road in Tredyffrin Township.
"I was like hysterical I was going through it -- trying to get here to be with my daughter," said Burdette Lewis, the boy's grandfather.
"We all prayed in there together," said Lewis.[[374229251, C]]
The boy's family's prayers were answered and they had him back in their arms at the Upper Merion Police headquarters.
"(The family) thanks the police officers and all of them for doing their job," said Lewis.
Investigators said the kidnapper showed off the child to family and friends and a handful of locations before being caught. No word yet on her motivation.
While police have not yet identified the woman they said they don't believe she has any connections to the baby's family. They also said she has ties to the King of Prussia area.
The mall released a statement on its Facebook page thanking law enforcement "who acted with swift and expert diligence in finding the baby."
"The King of Prussia Mall is a safe and family friendly environment and we maintain state-of the-art security protocols," said the mall. "The safety of our customers is of utmost priority and we are happy to help reunite (the boy) with his family."