Man Who Kidnapped And Sexually Abused Toddler Arrested
A suspect that police say kidnapped and sexually assaulted a toddler before dropping her off has been put behind bars.
On Wednesday the Gardena Police Department announced they had arrested 36-year old Michael David Ikeler of Torrance on April 9, one week after the abduction occurred. According to ABC 7, police say Ikeler took the girl from the back seat of her mother's car at a car wash in Gardena on April 2 and dropped her off in an empty parking plot in Cudahy two-and-a-half hours later.
The woman who found the child said she was naked and seemed to be in shock, and was also afraid to go with the male police officers. Authorities said she was hospitalized with injuries but at the time did not elaborate on how she was harmed.
It is unclear why authorities waited so long to announce the arrest.
Police also released the 911 call the toddler's mother made after her daughter disappeared, which KTLA has posted. "I heard her scream," she can be heard saying to the operator. "I turned around and she was gone."
Surveillance video of Ikeler's car, a white Nissan Altima with tinted windows, was released the day after the abduction in an effort to find the suspect. A tip on Sunday, April 5 of a car that matched the description was what led to the arrest. "If it had not been for that person on Easter Sunday to call us and let us know, we may not have found him," said Lieutenant Steve Prendergast.
Authorities say Ikeler owns a car that matches the description of the one in the video, and that he later altered the look of his car by removing the license plate and tinting of his windows. They also have two independent witnesses that place him at the scene of the crime, and have DNA evidence to link him.