South Bend family thankful for 3-year-old’s safe return after carjacking
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A South Bend family is thanking the police and the public for a child’s safe return after the car he was left sleeping in was carjacked.
Police say the mother went inside the Phillips 66 gas station on Western Avenue just before 5 Tuesday evening. She left her keys in the car with her son sleeping in the back seat. That’s when the suspect jumped in and took off.
"We're just happy that he's home and he's safe,” said the baby’s great-grandmother Linda Nelson. “Thankful for all the prayers!"
Just a few hours earlier they were fearing the worst.
"I just went numb,” said Nelson. “All I could do is get to my grand baby."
Nelson got a frantic call that her 3-year-old grandson Jahvell was taken while her granddaughter was inside the gas station down the street.
"She was screaming and hollering and I couldn't understand what she was saying,” said Nelson.
Police immediately responded with full manpower.
"We utilized everyone who was available and then we had the assistance of the St Joseph County Policer as well as the Pokagon Tribal Police,” said South Bend Police Lieutenant Gene Eyster.
Almost a full hour later that response lead them two miles away to Mayflower and Sample Streets where officers spotted the car and the suspect.
"The individual who was in the car got out and attempted to flee and he ran into a nearby business where he was apprehended by officers,” said Lt. Eyster.
Jahvell was found unharmed still strapped into his car seat.
Police say this should serve as a warning to everyone.
"It's not just when there's children in the car. We've said this time and time again - do not leave the keys in the car and don't leave the car running,” said Lt. Eyster. “You're just making an opportunity for someone to do something."
This family now thanking those officers and all who helped return Jahvell safely.
"Nothing, but joy,” said Nelson. “Very thankful. I thank the Lord for reacting as fast with the Police department as he did. They went up and down every street to make sure they found her car with her baby."
The suspect was taken to the hospital for treatment. Police say he was under the influence of something, but didn’t say what. No name or charges have been released.