A toddler strapped in a rear car seat who was abducted when her mother’s Jeep was stolen by two pistol-wielding desperadoes has been found safe and returned to her mom along with the vehicle, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Tuesday.
The incident could have had a tragic and possibly fatal outcome had a deputy not spotted the missing Jeep about two hours after the abduction, deputies said. The Jeep was parked in a secluded spot in an out-of-the-way parking lot at Hopkins Elementary School in Lower Richland County, deputies said.
Inside was the little girl, 2 years and 4 months old, dazed but alive. The doors to the Jeep were shut, the motor was off, the windows rolled up, and the night was hot, deputies said. Doctors checked her out, and she is fine, officers said.
“We got lucky all around on this one,” Lott said of the late Saturday night incident.
“I don’t want anybody thinking the bad guys were trying to do a good deed by leaving the car in a place where we could easily find it,” he said. “The car was way back, hidden. If our deputy hadn’t really been vigilant, he might not have spotted it.”