A 12-year-old boy’s older brothers rescued him from a man who attempted to kidnap him from a Whittier park on Tuesday evening, police said Wednesday.
A 30 to 40-year-old man came from behind, put his hand over the boy’s mouth and put him in a chokehold while he was playing on a swing set in Parnell Park (map) about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Whittier Police Department stated.
The boy told authorities that the man said, "Don't say anything," as he pulled him off the swing set.
The victim’s older brothers, ages 13 and 14, ran from the nearby basketball courts after hearing the boy make a noise. The brothers punched, kicked and screamed at the man, who eventually let go and ran into a residential area, police said.
"It's just sad," park visitor Xavier Castillo said. "I would hate to come out here with my brother, play ball and then something like that happens."
Police described the man as Hispanic, 5 feet 8 inches tall, stocky and unshaven with a scar on his right cheek. He was last seen wearing a dark sweatshirt, dark shorts and white shoes.
Authorities said there are no surveillance cameras monitoring the park.
Whittier schools were put on alert after Tuesday night's attempted kidnapping.
"We were asked to review stranger danger with kids," Brooke Browne, Leffingwell Elementary School teacher said.
The incident does not appear to be related to recent attempted kidnappings reported in the area, but police are not ruling out the possibilty of a link, Officer Brad White said. Police continue to look for two different men.
In February, an 11-year-old girl described a man trying to lure her into his red convertible at Founders Memorial Park, about five miles away from this week's attempted kidnapping. She helped a 7-year-old girl who was already in the car escape from the man.
About two weeks earlier, a man also attempted to kidnap a 17-year-old girl just blocks from Founders Memorial Park. The man tried to persuade the girl to get into a car of the same description.
Authorities asked anyone with information to call the Whittier Police Department Detective Bureau at 562-567-9270.