A 5-year-old girl fought off a would-be kidnapper in the front yard of Waco home Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Latonya Monique Kelsey, 36, was arrested after police were called to the 2900 block of Morrow Avenue at about 4:30 p.m., when witnesses reported Kelsey was watching a group of children playing in a yard. According to Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, the 5-year-old girl's mother said Kelsey, who was unknown to the family, was "acting strange," causing the mother to call her children back to her.

"Ms. Kelsey approached the children and grabbed a 5-year-old female child and started running with her," Swanton said. "The mother of the child immediately went after the suspect and the child and (the mother) started yelling for the child to fight the suspect."

The girl began to fight Kelsey, causing Kelsey to put the girl down. Swanton said another member of the girl's family continued to follow Kelsey until police were able to detain the woman.

Swanton said the girl was not hurt during the incident and it is unknown why Kelsey grabbed the girl. He said Kelsey has mental health issues and police continue to investigate the incident.

Police arrested Kelsey on a third-degree felony charge of kidnapping and other traffic warrants. She was taken to McLennan County Jail, where she remained in custody Wednesday afternoon on a bond listed at $15,000.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

Recommended for you