WHITTIER — A 12-year-old boy playing at Parnell Park was grabbed by a man but escaped when his two brothers fought off the would-be abductor Tuesday, police said.
The attempted kidnapping occurred around 7:25 p.m. at Parnell Park, 10711 Scott Ave.
Whittier Police Lt. Jay Tatman said the 12-year-old was on the swings while his 13- and 14-year-old brothers were playing basketball when a man walked behind the younger boy.
Tatman said the man put the 12-year-old in a headlock-type hold, placed his hand over the boy’s mouth and told him, “Don’t say anything.”
The boy was pulled off the swing.
“The young victim was able to make some type of noise that alerted his older brothers,” Whittier police said Wednesday in a written statement. “They ran over to their younger brother and started punching, kicking and screaming at the suspect.”
The man then let go of the child and fled.
The suspect ran west through the park toward a residential neighborhood, police said, while the siblings ran in another direction, toward their home.
Officers searched the area for the man but didn’t find him.
The failed kidnapper was described as a Latino man between 30 and 40 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and of stocky build. He was unshaven and had a scar on his right cheek, police said. He wore a dark hooded sweat shirt, dark short and white shoes.
It was unclear if he suffered injuries in the scuffle with the boys, Lt. Steve Dean said.
Tuesday’s incident was the second time in recent weeks that Whittier youths have freed themselves from would-be abductors.
But police said there is no indication Tuesday’s incident is connected to the Feb. 21 attempted kidnapping of two girls. Both girls also escaped from that suspect after being placed into his car near Founder’s Memorial Park at Citrus Avenue and Broadway. The suspect remains at large.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Whittier Police Department Detective Bureau at 562-567-9270.
– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day