The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was attacked at knifepoint while playing at a Ladera Ranch park said the victim and his twin brother, who flagged down a passerby for help, are doing well – physically and emotionally.
"It paid off," the boys’ mother said, referring to the years of her teaching her sons about "stranger danger." "I was amazed how he got out of the situation."
Still, the mother – who did not want to be identified to protect her family’s privacy – said she takes issue with the way investigators are describing the March 10 attack. She said it didn’t happen at 7:30 p.m., like police said. But rather, it happened closer to 6 p.m., when it was still light outside.
Authorities acknowledged there are discrepancies between the mother’s account of what happened and their own, but would not comment further.
The boys were playing at Founders Park when a knife-wielding man confronted them.
"He came up to Zachary with knife, pulled him, I think, pulled him from the swings, pulled him 10 to 15 feet, told him to take off his pants and his shoes, and he did do that," the boys’ mother said. "He told him to bend over."
Her other son ran for help, while the victim grabbed a handful of woodchips and threw it in the attacker’s face.
"Connor instantly knew something was going down so he went straight into the street and was just kind of like waving for someone to stop," she said.
A passerby stopped and called the boys' parents.
Investigators released grainy surveillance video from an elementary school adjacent to the park. They said the attacker appears to be a young man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and riding a bicycle (pictured at right).
Initially thought to be an attempted kidnapping or molestation, the attack was likely a robbery, police said. The assailant took off with the boy’s pants.
"That’s odd. It’s creepy," the victim’s mother said.