NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island teenager returned home safe after a man tried to kidnap her during a family vacation to St. Maarten.
Laura Warraich and her 14-year-old daughter, Alisha, are inseparable these days after a week-long Caribbean cruise that nearly tore the close-knit family apart.
“It was traumatic,” Laura Warraich told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis on Monday night.
Last Monday, they were on their first leg of their cruise to St. Maarten. Alisha had just stepped off a water taxi when she said a man grabbed her by the arm in an attempt to snatch her away.
“I was so scared and nervous. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even scream or anything,” she said.
Alisha was suddenly separated from her vacationing family, with the suspect leaving a bruise and whispering in her ear.
“He’s like ‘I’ll see you later princess,’ and he started pulling me into the other crowd,” Alisha said. “I kind of like elbowed him, and grabbed my arm away and ran as fast as I could.”
She ran to her dad, who held the man until police arrived and arrested him.
An e-mail to the family from the consulate of the Dutch Caribbean said police determined “…the man in question is mentally handicapped, and they do not believe he intended to harm your daughter. [He] will likely be banned from walking near the cruise ship terminal.”
Laura Warraich said she believes the suspect may have been part of a ring targeting girls.
“He knew exactly where to stand and how to take her,” she said.
Alisha said she is just relieved to be home.
“I feel better because this could have happened to someone else and they might not have been as fortunate as I was to get away from him,” she said.
Now that the family is home, they have started planning their next vacation, mindful of how quickly something bad can happen.
A judge is expected to order a psychiatric evaluation and inpatient treatment for the suspect, authorities said.
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