BRISTOL - A Middletown woman was arrested Saturday after allegedly trying to snatch a child out of the arms of his father in a Bristol parking lot.
Crystal Ortiz, 23, allegedly encountered the child, his sibling and their father at the Stop & Shop on Farmington Avenue and began following them around the store, according to the police report.
She tried to put her arm around the father multiple times and said she was his girlfriend, the report said.
Police received a 911 call around 2:15 p.m. Upon arrival, they observed that Ortiz appeared to be under the influence of some drug. They found her with her arms wrapped around a 5-year-old boy being held by his father. The child was crying and his father was screaming for help, saying he did not know who Ortiz was.
Ortiz was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree kidnapping, risk of injury to a minor, first-degree unlawful restraint, third-degree assault, interfering with police and second-degree breach of peace.
Police said the boy suffered scratches to his neck. He did not require hospitalization.
The father told police he had brought his 5- and 3-year-olds to the supermarket to shop at around 1:15 p.m. A woman, later identified as Ortiz, the began following him in the store, he said. She initially did not say anything, but giggled occasionally.
Ortiz then tried to hold the man’s hand and put her arm around him. He said he pushed her away, saying he didn’t know her, and that he was going home, according to the report.
Ortiz, the report said, then said, “We are going home.” She continued to follow the man around the store, claiming that she was his girlfriend.
Once outside, in the parking lot near his car, the man saw that Ortiz was still following him. She again tried to put her arm around him, and he told her to leave him alone, the report said.
As the man opened the car door, Ortiz allegedly tried to grab the 5-year-old, but he escaped her grasp and ran to the other side of the vehicle, according to the report.
The father cried out for help, and a bystander stood by the 3-year-old while the father attended to his other son.
Ortiz then grabbed the 5-year-old while he was in his father’s arms, saying, “These are my kids. This is my husband,” according to the report.
Police arrived shortly afterward, and the man told officers he believed Ortiz was trying to abduct his children. Witnesses corroborated his version of events.
According to police, Ortiz told officers she had smoked marijuana that may have been laced, possibly with PCP, a hallucinogen also known as angel dust.
During Ortiz’s arraignment on Tuesday, in Bristol Superior Court, state prosecutor Elizabeth Moseley said the 5-year-old had been “absolutely terrified.” She called the allegations “frightening.”
Ortiz has no criminal record, according to court officials. Her attorney, Peter Matthews, asked that she undergo an evaluation to determine if she is competent to understand the proceedings against her.
Her bail was set at $100,000, and her case was continued to Nov. 7.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.