LOS ANGELES — A man has been charged with attempting to take a girl from her blind father outside their home last month.
Elijah John Lopez, 24, was charged with one count of attempted kidnapping.
The case was filed on September 4 and he has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
On August 18, the girl and her father, Cesar Palma, were aboard a Blue Line train headed to their home in Huntington Park. Lopez also was on the train, struck up a conversation with Palma and allegedly followed the father and his daughter once they got off. Lopez reportedly asked Palma if he could take the6-year-old home.
They then boarded a bus and Lopez continued to follow them. Once they both got off, Lopez allegedly approached them outside their home and grabbed the girl and tried to pull her away from her father.
The would-be abductor and father struggled and witnesses came to the girl’s aid.
“This overt action caused the commuting public that was on the train to step forward and tell Mr. Lopez to leave the family alone,” LAPD Capt. Alfonso Lopez said. “One would think that would stop his action, but it did not.”
“His overbearingness while walking to the bus line was so obvious and disturbing to additional Angelenos, that they in turn stepped forward and told Lopez to leave the family alone,” he said.
“When he tried to grab her, that’s when I turned around and started yelling at him, stay the bad-word away from us, that’s when the neighbors stepped in and he started walking away,” Palma said.
“In my mind, I wanted to turn around and fight with him,” Palma said. “But I thought, if I let my daughter go … and he snatches her and he can run with her, how am I going to run after them? It’s unsafe out there — there’s a lot of crazy people. Just hold on to your kids, don’t let them wander off, because anything could happen.”
Lopez fled the scene and was arrested later in San Diego.
“We believe that Elijah Lopez utilizes public transportation to not only traverse between the counties of Southern California, but to target victims,” Lopez said.
If convicted as charged, the defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of 23 years in state prison.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.