A serial child kidnapper in Ohio that abducted 6-year-old Nevaeh Wylie in May, and attempted to abduct other girls in February, has caused the FBI to reach out to the public for help.
In August, the FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information that would lead to the man’s capture.
Here’s what you need to know about the serial kidnapper in Ohio.
1. His First Victims Got Away
The kidnapper first attempted a child abduction in February when a 10-year-old girl, asleep in her Elyria, Ohio home, was grabbed by the man through her bedroom window around 3:45 a.m. He attempted to pull the girl outside. The girl managed to get herself free and run to her father’s room.
Later investigation showed that the man broke into the family’s home days prior and unlocked several doors and windows.
According to Cleveland.com, the girl told authorities that “her attempted abductor was a white man in his 30s with brown eyes.”
They further reported that on the same morning of the attempted abduction, police in Lorain, Ohio were called about three separate incidences of attempted abductions of girls by a man. All the girls got away, but in one incident the man exposed himself.
The scare prompted Lorain City Schools to go on lockdown.
Lorain is 20 minutes northwest of Elyria.
2. His Second Victim Was Held for 17 Hours
On May 21, at around 3:30 a.m., the man broke into a West 104th Street, Cleveland home while everyone was sleeping and took Nevaeh Wylie, a 6-year-old girl. According to Fox 59:
The girl told authorities she rode in the front floorboard of his car for a long time and went to a home. After they got there, a man and woman arrived who cooked chicken for the suspect and left. She said the man told her to hide and keep quiet; the FBI said the man and woman weren’t aware that the girl was at home and being held against her will.
Wylie was held by the man for 17 hours and was then dropped off at 9:30 p.m., 2 miles away from her home where she was abducted.
The girl then walked home to her family.
Forensic evidence connected her abduction to the attempted abduction in Elyria in February.
Cleveland is just 30 minutes northeast of Elyria.
3. The Man May Have Used Social Media to Scout His Victims
According to the FBI, the man may not be from Cleveland or Elyria, and there may be a social media connection. CBS 4 reports that “investigators believe someone in both cases interacted with the man on social media and unwittingly provided him with information about their homes and families.”
In August, FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson told reporters that, “We can’t go into specifics about what apps or how they were used… We’re continuing to look at that angle.” However, it was revealed that at least one of the social media apps used included messaging.
Prior to the abduction of Wylie, the man cased the area outside her home. Security camera footage taken May 14, 15 and 20 shows a hooded man with an unusual gait walking the streets.
The FBI made sure to emphasize the strange way the man walked.
On May 21, he parked across the street and abducted Wylie while she slept.
Further camera footage shows that he put her in a Chevy Malibu, either 2002 or 2003.
According to Cleveland.com, “The car has a lighter colored panel on the front driver’s side which makes it more distinguishable from other models. It also has an after-market spoiler on the back.”
4. The FBI Is Afraid He Will Strike Again
The FBI has released a sketch of the man and has put out a warning to the public that they believe he will strike again.
However, they admit that the sketch “looks like half the guys in Ohio.”
They also are afraid that he will move beyond the Ohio cities he has already struck. Information on the man has been spread throughout Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Louisville.
5. Cleveland Was the Site of the ‘Cleveland Kidnappings’
Cleveland was the site of the horrific kidnappings carried out by Ariel Castro.
Castro, 52, who committed suicide in prison, was charged with the kidnapping of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them hostage for 10 years in a specially created dungeon in his home at 2207 Seymour Avenue.
Castro had been sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 additional years before his suicide.
The FBI is asking anyone with knowledge of the incidents to call their tip line at 216-622-6824.