A kidnapping at O’Hare Tuesday luckily did not turn into a tragedy for the Gonzalez family. A woman grabbed a 2-year-old boy around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and took off down an escalator, but the boy’s mother was able to get her son back quickly. Olachi Etoh is the woman accused of trying to take the boy, and her family says she has mental health issues that likely were behind the incident.
Carla Gonzalez was at O’Hare International Airport with her two young children, waiting to pick up her boyfriend and his parents. Etoh is said to have come down to the baggage area and she started playing with Gonzalez’s son as he was a few feet away from his mother. Etoh apparently commented on how cute Lupe was, and then she scooped him up in her arms.
It is said that Etoh then took Lupe onto the down escalator that was a few feet away, and Gonzalez of course grabbed her 1-year-old and went after them. She caught up to Etoh and confronted the woman, who initially refused to hand the boy over. Gonzalez grabbed her son, and Etoh was soon arrested.
Gonzalez adds that several people watched this all take place, but nobody tried to help her. After the kidnapping at O’Hare Etoh was charged with aggravated kidnapping and battery. She is being held on $450,000 bail, and she is banned from entering O’Hare or contacting Gonzalez.
Etoh’s family says that as the kidnapping at O’Hare took place, they had been worried and searching for her. It seems she is supposed to be on medication for mental health issues, and they had been worried that she had stopped taking the medications. Olachi’s parents also believe that the woman may have thought little Lupe was her nephew, and they say she is not a criminal. Her father, John Etoh, says, “She needs to be in a hospital, not a jail.” He adds that they are hoping she can get the help she needs.
The Associated Press via ABC News says that Gonzalez and Etoh do not know one another. Gonzalez was able to catch up to her son during the kidnapping at O’Hare “within moments.” My Fox Chicago adds that the entire incident with Etoh was captured on surveillance cameras. The woman had not been scheduled to fly anywhere that day.
While an airport like O’Hare tends to have its fair share of crazy incidents pop up, like when an alligator was found there last year, this type of situation is of course far more serious. Luckily the young boy was fine and Olachi Etoh did not get very far with him during the kidnapping at O’Hare.
[Image via ABC7 Chicago]