HONOLULU (KHON2) — An Oahu woman said her maternal instincts kicked in when she saw a child in danger. The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) is now asking for the public’s help to find the suspect while the woman is being honored for taking swift action.
It happened in a blink of an eye, luckily Anuhea Salangsang was at the right place at the right time to prevent a possible kidnapping.
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Salangsang was running paperwork between offices at Honolulu Hale on Dec. 28. She said it was like any other day at work, it was broad daylight and cheerful with the City Lights display, but then she noticed something strange.
“I noticed a man that was dressed in all black, and he was riding like an e-assist bike coming pretty quickly through the grass from the King Street side,” Salangsang said. “The bike came clear across this path right past me and scooped up the boy by the back of his shirt.”
Salangsang dropped the files she had in hand and immediately sprinted toward the man.
“I could hear the child screaming, I knew something was wrong, and I just ran towards the bike and was screaming myself for that person to stop,” Salangsang explained.
She said the man dropped the child; she thinks the little boy was about two-years-old with his grandmother. They spoke briefly after the incident, but everyone involved was understandably emotional.
The woman with the child left soon after and did not wait for the police to file the report. Salangsang spoke with the police, and officers searched the area but did not find the man.
Security cameras are not in the area to help identify the suspect. All Salangsang remembers was the man wearing an all-black hoodie, face mask and shorts.
The Honolulu Crimestoppers Coordinator Sgt. Chris Kim said it is important for people to be good witnesses if they ever experience a similar incident. He said people should take mental notes of tattoos, scars and any other identifiers.
Kim said, “Children and adults for that matter, you know, in the event that you’ve been kidnapped or held against your will, do what it takes, draw attention to yourself. Kick punch, shout, fight.”
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi recognized Salangsang for her bravery. She was an athlete at Kamehameha Schools — maybe it helped her quick action — but the mother of two young ones said it was her maternal instincts that kicked in.
She hopes to get a chance to see the little boy she helped again.
Salangsang said, “Hug the child and his grandma, it’s probably something they will never forget and something I will never forget either.”
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The HPD said there has been no arrest or a suspect identified at this time. Anyone with information is encouraged to call HPD or Crimestoppers Honolulu at (808) 961-8300.