Did Texas cops miss an opportunity to rescue the kidnapped 8-year-old sooner?
After Salem Sabatka was snatched while she and her mom were walking in their neighborhood Saturday evening, she was taken to a local hotel. Though she was rescued early Sunday and returned home safely, police had visited that very hotel — and even inspected her alleged kidnapper's room — hours earlier.
As authorities were working through the night to find Salem, a desk clerk at the WoodSpring Suites in Forest Hill had called local police to say a girl matching Salem's description was with a man in a third-floor room.
"Officers made visual inspection of the areas of the room that appeared to be large enough to conceal the missing child. They did not locate any other occupants," a Forest Hill Police spokesman said.
Salem's harrowing ordeal dragged on for another 2 1/2 hours, until the suspect's car was spotted in the hotel parking lot by Pastor Jeff King.
Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, cops stormed the suspect's hotel room — and rescued little Salem, no doubt bringing relief to her mother.
Salem was pulled into the suspect's car right in front of her mother, who fought valiantly to save Salem, jumping on the car to try to get her daughter back. But the distraught mother was left screaming in the street for help.
High school math teacher Kevin Arndt was the first person in the neighborhood to come to her aid. He said the mother wanted to chase after the kidnapper.