Car stolen with toddler still inside, child found safe - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Car stolen with toddler still inside, child found safe

Chris Vestal holds back tears as he talks about his son being taken in a car theft. Chris Vestal holds back tears as he talks about his son being taken in a car theft.
Mikah was found safe & sound shortly after the car was recovered by Lubbock Police Mikah was found safe & sound shortly after the car was recovered by Lubbock Police
Jontel Perry, image from Lubbock County S.O. Jontel Perry, image from Lubbock County S.O.
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

It was a terrifying 30 minutes for a Lubbock family after their car was stolen with their two-year-old still inside. Police found the car, and later the toddler who had been left just blocks from where the car was stolen.

Around 7 p.m. on Wednesday Chris Vestal had pulled up to his sister-in-laws home off of 24th and Kewanee to drop off a few things. He says he left his two-year-old son Mikah in the running car for just a few seconds to go inside. When he came back out, his car was speeding down the road.

Police later identified the suspect as Jontel Monique Perry, 17, who is charged with kidnapping, child abandonment, and evading arrest.

"I just really wanted to kick myself in the butt because I should have turned the car off, and took my son with me," Vestal said. "Right then I thought I was going to pass out. I couldn't breathe."

Vestal says he began frantically chasing the car as he tried to call 911. Luckily just down the road he ran into a Lubbock Police officer and flagged him down. The search began and Vestal's car was found quickly at the intersection of Quaker and the South Loop.

Police arrested the woman they say stole the car, but the panic didn't stop. Mikah was not in the car.

"Right then and there I just broke down and started crying," Vestal said with tears in his eyes.

Just moments later another call came in. Mikah had been found just a few blocks away from the home. Police say the driver had left Mikah in his booster seat in a nearby apartment complex along with his diaper bag.

"I'm grateful, just grateful he was alright and they found him quick," Vestal said. "I was happy. I just didn't want to let him go... I was really happy they found him."

While this whole ordeal lasted only about 30 minutes, Vestal says it felt like a lifetime.  But he says it's something he will never forget.

"It doesn't matter if you're running into the house for a second to get a drink of water, take your kid with you. I could care less about the car; they could have totaled it or kept the damn thing, but my son, that's the worst thing ever. I don't want that to happen to anybody," Vestal cried.

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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