The Charlotte Observer
A 30-mile police chase with a suspected kidnapper ended with the victim — a 5-year-old — drowning in a pond off Interstate 95 in Florida, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
The identity of the girl has not been released.
Investigators say the incident started around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, when someone reported a “kidnapping in progress” on the north side of Jacksonville, according to Officer Christian Hancock of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
It involved a 5-year-old girl and a woman she knew, and the suspect was armed with a knife “at the time of the kidnapping,” he said.
“An officer actually came upon the vehicle at a traffic light,” Hancock said. “As the officer turned to approach the vehicle from behind, the suspect sped off. … The pursuit lasted … approximately 30 miles. … It was a very long distance, but for obvious reasons, we had to stay behind this vehicle.”
Speeds reached 90 mph during the pursuit, he said.
The crash occurred when the driver attempted to exit Interstate 95 on the south side of Jacksonville and “ended up driving straight off of this ramp into a pond,” Hancock said.
“The suspect was apprehended in the water. Unfortunately … the child was not located at the time,” Hancock said, noting the girl exited the vehicle during the crash.
“The child was unfortunately located at the bottom of the pond.”
Investigators have not released the identity of the suspect.
One officer was hospitalized after the woman’s arrest, due to “issues related from the going into the pond and attempting to pull the suspect out of the lake,” Hancock said.
No other vehicles were involved in related crashes during the lengthy pursuit, he said.