Abducted Texas child found safe; suspect in custody

AMBER Alert victim Salem Sabatka. PHoto courtesy missingkids.org
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FORT WORTH, Texas (KKTV) - An 8-year-old girl is back with her family hours after she was abducted during a walk with her mother.

Fort Worth police say a man in a car pulled up alongside Salem Sabatka and her mother Saturday evening and dragged the little girl into his vehicle. Surveillance showed the mother trying to jump into the moving car after her daughter and getting thrown out. She was then seen crying for help on the street.

She was found early Sunday morning in a hotel in the Fort Worth suburb of Forest Hill, roughly 9 miles from where she was taken.

"As you can see, there is a smile on my face. I'm here to report that Salem has been found safe," Fort Worth Police Department spokesperson Buddy Calzada told reporters Sunday morning.

Calzada said a couple of good Samaritans who had learned of the kidnapping went out looking for Salem and spotted the suspect vehicle.

"Two local church members who saw what we put out and just went looking around ... saw the vehicle, called it in, called Fort Worth Police; Fort Worth officers arrived on scene, and I can't go into full details of what [officers] did here, but I can tell you they did breach one of the doors here and was able to locate Salem safely."

The suspect was identified Sunday morning as 51-year-old Michael Webb. Webb faces charges of aggravated kidnapping. Webb is not a relative of Salem's, according to Calzada.


Salem appeared to be in good condition but was taken to the hospital to be examined by medical professionals, Calzada said. He noted she was calm as officers escorted her away from the hotel.

"Her family is headed [to the hospital] right now to meet up with her," Calzada said, unable to hold back his smile.

When asked how the family reacted to the news their daughter was safe, Calzada told reporters he himself was "screaming and clapping" when he heard the news over police radio that Salem had been found, "so I can tell you if I was screaming and clapping, just as an officer here in Fort Worth listening in -- it's unbelievable what the family was thinking."

Calzada lauded the citizens who found the suspect vehicle as heroes.

"We didn't literally find her. We had citizens that went out of their way, help not just a police department but a family put some great closure to what we have going on right now."

The incident is in the early stages of investigation. We will update this article as more information is released.