'It was a split second': Mother of child left in vehicle that was stolen speaks

Teen charged in kidnapping, 120 mph chase that followed

By Vincent Crivelli - Reporter, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

SPRING, Texas - A 16-year-old boy was arrested Monday in connection with the theft of a car with a young girl inside and the high-speed chase that followed.

The theft was reported about 11 p.m. Sunday at a gas station at the corner of Treaschwig Road and Cypresswood Drive.

According to Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constables, the 4-year-old girl’s mother had left her vehicle running while she ran inside the store. A person on a bicycle pedaled up, jumped in the car and then drove away.

"It was a split second, a split second," said Kristen Dowell, the girl's mother. Literally, my back was turned three minutes. I turned around and she was gone."

Deputies said they quickly spotted the vehicle and began chasing it. The nearly 20-minute chase through several neighborhoods in the Spring area reached speeds of nearly 120 mph before authorities lost sight of the vehicle, deputies said.

"There was at least 70 cop cars up and down everywhere," Dowell said.

Deputies said the vehicle was later found abandoned about 2 miles away from the gas station where it was stolen. The child was found unharmed inside the vehicle, deputies said.

"God bless those constables," Dowell said.

Authorities searched the area where the car was found for nearly three hours but were unable to find the driver.

Deputies said they were able to recover images of the person believed to be responsible for the ordeal from surveillance video taken at the gas station and a nearby fast food restaurant. Investigators recognized him as a 16-year-old with whom they had previous dealings and were able to arrest him at his home.

The teen confessed to the crime, deputies said.

Harris County Pct. 4 Constable's Office

A deputy constable takes a teen suspect into custody near Spring, Texas, on June 10, 2019. The teen is accused of stealing a car with a child inside and then leading authorities on a high-speed chase.

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