Crime & Courts

Man jailed in stranger abduction of 8-year-old girl tried to molest her, charges say

A Wichita lawn care worker who police say tried to abduct an 8-year-old year playing outside of a west Wichita motel on Sunday has been formally charged with kidnapping and attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child, which is a sex crime.

Stranger abductions are rare. But Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred in disclosing details of the case on Tuesday urged parents and children to be aware that they do happen.

The girl was snatched by a man around noon Sunday and forced into a storage shed as she played with her 8-year-old cousin outside of the White Glove Inn, where she lived with her mother. Her screams scared him away.

Police later tracked 39-year-old Daniel Withrow, a registered child sex offender, to his home in the 1200 block of North Indiana and arrested him.

Neither the girl nor her family know Withrow, Allred said Tuesday. The motel is on west Kellogg near 119th.

Withrow made a first appearance in court Thursday afternoon on the pair of charges, both of which are felonies, according to Sedgwick County District Court records. The kidnapping count accuses him of unlawfully taking or confining the girl “by force, threat or deception” because he planned to sexually assault her, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

The aggravated indecent liberties count describes the attack in more detail than the police account. Withrow, the complaint says, rubbed the girl’s stomach “and tried to pull down her pants,” intending to assault her. But he didn’t get that far because he “was prevented or intercepted” before he could,” the document says.

A protective order filed in the case bars Withrow from having any contact with the girl or any other child under age 16 — including in person, by phone or through written or electronic messages. The order also bars him from contacting any other prosecution witness.

Withrow is being held in the Sedgwick County Jail on $100,000 bond. He will be represented by a public defender and is due back in court on May 16, court records show.

Allred on Tuesday said Withrow is a lawn care maintenance subcontractor for a business in the area of the motel where he allegedly snatched the girl and was likely there because of work. On his application for a court-appointed lawyer, Withrow wrote that he currently is employed by a company, LCS, and makes about $1,200 a month.

He also worked for a Wichita sandwich shop and for a cemetery, which is adjacent to the motel where the abduction occurred, during the last six months, he wrote on the application.

Withrow has a criminal record, including an aggravated incident liberties with a child conviction in a 1999 Reno county case.

He finished serving his most recent prison sentence, involving drugs and weapons convictions, in 2015.

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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.