When a mother in Tigard, Oregon, spotted a man take her child into his apartment and lock the door, she wasted no time rectifying the situation.
It was on Wednesday around 6:30 p.m. that the 7-year-old boy was kidnapped while playing outside on the apartment playground.
Thankfully his mother was keeping an eye on him and she saw 56-year-old James Harman II grab her son and walk to his apartment. Observant neighbors in the area also noticed the man leading the boy off and reacted.
Rallying the neighbors, the mother called 911 and ran after the man, who had gone to his apartment with the boy and locked the door behind them, according to Oregon Live.
But a locked door wasn’t going to stop this mother, and with help from her neighbors, they broke down the door.
Harman took the boy and exited out the apartment’s other door, but was met with a crowd of neighbors and let the boy go.
Neighbor Ashley Scott said she’d noticed a recent change in Harman’s behavior. She used to talk to him regularly, but starting around a month ago he began to act “manic,” according to what she told KOIN.
She noticed the boy playing on the playground and then saw the man approach him.
“We seen him walking with the little boy down the hill, and then he walks him back, and then he comes in and takes him into his house,” Scott said.
Scott said as Harman exited his apartment and was faced by the group of good Samaritan neighbors, “he just kinda let him out and like let his hand go.”
She added that the mother and son had an emotional reunion.
“She was crying … when she was crying and weeping you could hear her weeping when and you could see him weeping when they finally met arms together,” Scott said. “Like, she would not let him go, like she had him, like she made sure she had her baby.”
Harman was arrested, charged with first-degree kidnapping and taken to Washington County Jail.
When police investigated Harman’s apartment, they found evidence suggesting that Harman had plans to hurt the boy.
“We recognize the tremendous impact an investigation like this can have on the community’s feeling of safety,” the Tigard Police Department shared in a post detailing the incident.
“We are thankful that serious crimes against children are extremely rare in Tigard. We are also grateful for the quick-actions and watchful eyes of the mother and neighbors involved in this situation.”