Crime & Courts

Stranger snatched 8-year-old girl playing outside of Wichita motel, police say

Police say an 8-year-old girl living in a west Wichita motel thwarted her own kidnapping when she screamed and scared her abductor away.

Capt. Brent Allred said the girl was playing outside of the White Glove Inn with her 8-year-old cousin when Daniel A. Withrow snatched her up and forced her into a nearby storage shed against her will around noon Sunday. Withrow, 39, is a lawn maintenance care subcontractor for a business in that area, Allred said, and was likely there because of work.

The motel is located at 11430 W. Kellogg near 119th.

Withrow is a stranger to the girl and her family, Allred said. Kansas prison records show he is a child sex offender and also has prior criminal gun possession and drug convictions. He was convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a child in a 1999 Reno County case, Kansas Department of Corrections’ online inmate search says.

The girl “yelled and screamed real loud, which scared him away,” Allred said. She then ran to her mother, who called 911. Officers worked throughout the day to find the man responsible.

They arrested Withrow at his home in the 1200 block of North Indiana later Sunday. Jail records say he was booked at 1:29 a.m. Monday. He remained in the Sedgwick County Jail on Tuesday on suspicion of kidnapping the girl. His bond is $100,000.

Police plan to present the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office for formal criminal charging Tuesday or Wednesday.

Withrow finished serving his most recent prison sentence in 2015, KDOC records say.

The girl was taken to a Wichita hospital to be looked over but “everything appears to be fine physically” with her, Allred said.

Stranger abductions aren’t common in Wichita, Allred said, but parents and children should be aware that kidnappings can and do happen.

He urged parents to teach their kids not to get into cars with strangers or talk to strangers and to make noise and run away if someone tries to abduct them.

“Unfortunately, we do have predators out there that prey on our children. In this case this ... female screamed, which scared the suspect away, which is great,” Allred said.

“If you see something suspicious that doesn’t look right make sure you call us.”

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.