Almost abducted: A 5-year-old Rock Island boy shares his terrifying story

Local News

A suspect is behind bars after two children were nearly abducted Sunday afternoon from their own front yard in Rock Island.

Bre Daniels and Zach Cochuyt were preparing to make tacos and enjoy a Sunday watching football while their children played outside in the front yard.

About 1:30 p.m., a man in a gold van pulled up and tried to coax their 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter to get inside, the parents told Local 4 News in an exclusive interview.

The man then got out of his van and approached the children. That’s when the boy grabbed his little sister’s hand and rushed inside.

A public-safety officer saw it unfold, and detained the man before police arrived to arrest him.

Jason Rottman, held in Rock Island County Jail, faces child-abduction charges.

“The kids were outside playing right here in the front yard riding their bikes, and her 5-year-old son came running in the house and told us that this guy was coming at him and asked him to get in his car,” Cochuyt, the boy’s stepfather, told Ryan Risky with Local 4 News.

Both children were shaken from the incident.

“This guy he came up. When I fell off my bike, then he came up and said ‘Are you OK?’ and tried to grab me. So I went and ran inside and I grabbed Delilah,” said Christian Hicks, 5.

He said the man became angry when Christian ran off.

“He was saying bad words when I said no, that I don’t know him,” the boy told our reporter.

Fortunately, a public-safety officer across the street stepped in.

“By the time I got out here, right over there behind that guy’s car, Public Safety had him in a head lock and in handcuffs because (the suspect) was over at the probation office in the hospital going through the trash,” Cochuyt said.

Cochuyt is baffled by the man’s brazen actions in broad daylight with other people present everywhere nearby.

“One of the guys that lives at the end of the street was right over here mowing this yard. My neighbors, the mom and the dad here, were outside laying these new rocks, painting their home,” Cochuyt said.

Both parents are proud of their son for having the awareness to run away from the man and to remember what they have taught him about strangers.

“When you see somebody you don’t know, if they try and lure you in the car, you scream as loud as you can and you run as fast as you can. And that’s exactly what he did and he made it home,” Daniels said.

Now Cochuyt wonders what kind of lasting effect this could have on their children.

“I don’t even think they’re going to want to come out and play in their own front yard anymore unless one of us is sitting outside in a chair or sitting on the front porch watching them, because now they’re terrified,” Cochuyt said.

This is a developing story. Local 4 News will provide details when they are available.

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