A relieved family was reunited with a 5-year-old boy after he was accidentally kidnapped by a car thief early Tuesday in Riverside.
Jeremiah Espinosa was asleep in the back of his father’s car after returning from a trip to his grandmother’s house in Tijuana, Mexico from Easter when he woke up to a stranger driving the vehicle. The boy’s father stepped out of the car to pick up his girlfriend and their other two children from his sister’s house at the time of the kidnapping, according to the child’s dad.
The key were left inside the car.
Riverside police were quickly notified of the harrowing situation and officials found the vehicle abandoned less than two miles away from the site of the theft. Police believe the thief realized a child was in the car which is why they ultimately left the vehicle and boy behind.
The boy was separated from anxious family members for about 15 minutes. Tearful loved ones welcomed him back with hugs. He was not injured.
Officers are still searching for the car thief, who is believed to be wearing a white shirt and a dark-colored hoodie.
Anyone with information on the accidental kidnapping is asked to contact the Riverside Police Department at 951-826-5700.