The young girl was returned home safe Tuesday night, but earlier in the day she was a missing child. Her neighborhood is one where people feel safe, but maybe not after this incident.
The child, Salma Senior, slept through the whole ordeal. Her father, Adolfo Senior, says the family had just returned from Salma's doctor appointment around 6:30 p.m. He says he parked right in front of their home, and helped bring their 3-year-old son in the house, while his wife ran in to use the restroom, leaving Salma asleep in her car seat.
"My wife finished what she was doing and came out to get my daughter and the car was gone in less than two minutes. I ran frantically down the street because my first intonation was the car might have rolled down the street," said Adolfo Senior, the girl's father.
He says they called 911 and the police were there in less than four minutes and quickly combed the neighborhood. Adolfo says he and his wife were frantic.
"She was crying, she was running around. She was calling, the neighbors came out, everybody was helpful," said Adolfo. "It was like the whole world flashed in front of my eyes because I watch these horror stories on TV, kidnap and abduction, and I was having that same fear."
Fifteen minutes later, police found the abandoned car on Grasswood Drive several blocks away from their home on Fleetwood Dr. Police think the suspect was after the rims on the car.
"She was still in the back seat sleeping. She was laying down in the back, she didn't even know what was going on," said Adolfo.
Police believe the tinted windows hid the girl from view and the suspect ditched the car after realizing the girl was sleeping in the back seat.
"I'm just lucky that my daughter is alive. And they didn't killer her or dump the car somewhere," said Adolfo.
It was the worst 15 minutes of their life, but they'd like to thank the Richmond Police Department for their speedy response. Adolfo says his wife's purse was stolen from the back seat. Meanwhile, police think the thieves used what's called a shaved key, which is popular for stealing late-model Japanese cars.