BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Federal investigators are searching for a suspected child predator linked to an abduction and attempted abduction in Ohio.
And now authorities are casting a wide net hoping that surveillance video and photos will lead to a break in the frightening cases.
The most recent incident happened in May when a man entered a Cleveland home in the middle of the night, abducting a 6-year old girl and holding her for about 17 hours.
The unknown suspect entered the home with adults sleeping, authorities say.
“The girl was not unharmed, but the specifics of what she endured we’re not going to discuss that,” said Adam Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo division.
The girl told authorities that she rode in the front floorboard of the vehicle for a long time to and from the residence where she was held.
While at the residence the girl told federal agents that a man and woman, unaware of what was happening with the girl, arrived and cooked chicken for the suspect, and then left.
She was told by the suspect to “hide and keep quiet.”
“Ultimately [he] held her for approximately 17 hours before releasing her back in her neighborhood,” Cohen said.
Cohen says the man dropped her off approximately two miles from her home.
The FBI released video and photos of the suspected child predator walking in the alley behind the victim’s home, and footage of the vehicle he was driving.
The car is a 2002-2003 Chevy Malibu with a mismatched colored front fender on the driver’s side.
Authorities say forensic evidence links the same man to an attempted abduction of a 10 year old girl in Elyria, Ohio that happened in February.
In that case, the girl was asleep in her bed when the suspect reached through the girl’s unlocked bedroom window.
“She felt somebody grab her leg through the window. She was able to get away,” Cohen said.
Both of these frightening cases are now getting attention outside of Ohio.
The FBI theorizes that the suspect could have traveled to the Cleveland and Elyria, Ohio areas from outside the immediate area, possibly across state lines.
“It’s conceivable that the person may have traveled from New York State into Ohio, the Cleveland area, to commit these acts, and then travels back where he possibly lives,” Cohen explained.
The FBI strongly suspects that someone in each of the homes involved may have interacted with the suspect through social media and unknowingly provided him with information about the residences and who resides there.
“There’s certainly a fear that those were not the only ones that he will commit if he is not caught before he has the opportunity to do something else in the future,”
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the cases.
Anyone with information regarding the suspect or the vehicle seen in the surveillance footage is asked to contact authorities at (216) 622-6842.