A New York City man who tried to kidnap a five-year-old boy in broad daylight was with his father at the time of the alleged plot, police say they have now determined.
James McGonagle, 24, was charged with attempted kidnapping, reckless endangerment and acting in a manner injurious to a child for allegedly trying to kidnap little Jacob Diaz, the NYPD said. He was arrested on Friday.
McGonagle appeared to leap from a nearby car and snatched Jacob off the sidewalk, throwing the little boy into his car.
James McGonagle, 24, right, has been arrested for allegedly trying to kidnap a five-year-old boy in broad daylight. His father, also named James McGonagle, left, was with him at the time
Sources tell the New York Post that the older bald man is McGonagle’s 55-year-old father, also named James McGonagle. He has not yet been found.
It’s not known at this stage if the dad was in on the alleged plot to grab the boy.
Investigators contacted James McGonagle’s mother, Cassandra, 53, who positively identified both her husband and her son as the two men who were pictured on surveillance footage during the attempted abduction.
Shortly after the incident, McGonagle, who is from Pomonok in Queens, New York, is said to have headed to Brookdale Hospital and punched an innocent bystander in the face.
James McGonagle, 24, is currently undergoing a psych evaluation in hospital. It is not known where his father is
McGonagle was only nabbed when cops at the hospital recognized him from the surveillance video. The suspect was said to be at the hospital seeking treatment and is undergoing evaluation.
McGonagle has since been admitted to the hospital’s psychiatric ward while police continue to look for his father.
Jacob’s mother Dolores Diaz Lopez, 45, was filmed in surveillance footage rescuing her son, pulling him from the kidnapper’s car through the window after he was brazenly snatched from a sidewalk in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens.
He was seen in the alarming video of the attack wearing jeans and an orange polo shirt with sunglasses.
‘I said ‘oh my God my kids, oh my God my boy,” Diaz Lopez said, recalling the botched kidnapping attempt.
She told WNYW: ‘I fought, they say you fight tooth and nail for your children and that’s what I did.’
Dolores Diaz Lopez was walking in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens when someone tried to grab her five-year-old son Jacob from the sidewalk.
The mom noted that the stranger who grabbed her son did not say anything as he put him in the car – and she had never seen him before. Investigators said there is no evidence that the suspects knew the boy’s mother.
Diaz told the New York Daily News that she was ‘so happy’ to hear McGonagle had been arrested.
‘My family, they all feel good. But now I know the man is not on the street and now I can rest and I know my family is okay,’ she told the outlet. ‘He can’t do this with another kid.’
In an interview with WABC, Diaz Lopez said she and her children were on their way to visit their father around 8pm Thursday, on Hillside Avenue in the New York City borough when the man jumped out of a parked maroon sedan and ran at them.
Jacob Diaz, 5, is pictured safe in his home after his horrific kidnapping attempt
Surveillance video from the scene shows the man alleged to be McGonagle scoop up the five-year-old boy and place him in the backseat.
Diaz Lopez, with her young son Benny and her daughter Zuriely, chased after the kidnappers.
Benny Diaz, 9, told the Daily News that McGonagle allegedly told his accomplice: ‘We are taking the kid!’
According to the boy, the older man allegedly responded: ‘No, leave him!’
‘I was telling the man, ‘Give me my brother back!’,’ Benny Diaz said.
Jacob initially sits down in the car, but when his older brother approaches, pleading with the suspect to release the boy, Jacob gets up and Diaz Lopez is able to pull him out.
A mother was walking with her children on Hillside Avenue in Queens on Thursday evening when her five-year-son became the victim of a brazen attempted kidnapping
A man in a white T-shirt emerges from a maroon sedan and runs up to the family, who apparently did not know him
‘My brother was intelligent and stood up and my mother got him by his arms,’ Benny told the Daily News.
He added: ”If they didn’t give my brother back I would have to punch them.’
Then, the victim’s mother is seen on video rushing toward the car and, after a brief struggle, pulls Jacob through the front passenger window.
Zuriely Diaz, 8, said she heard McGonagle say: ‘Give me that stupid kid back.’
According to the police, Jacob was not injured. His family said he was scared but did not cry through horrific encounter.
Surveillance video shows the man scoop up the five-year-old boy and carry him to the car. The recording released by the NYPD does not have audio
The suspect stuffs the boy into the back seat of the sedan while being pursued by the boy’s family
When interviewed by the Daily News on Friday, little Jacob wore a shirt that read ‘Proud to be a Mama’s Boy.’
Diaz Lopez told WABC that all three of her kids are now ‘traumatized’ and refuse to leave the house.
‘Mothers have to be careful with their children,’ she said. ‘Always hold their hand when walking with them, because there are a lot of evil people and you never know who is near.’
The mother jumps into action, grabs her son through the front passenger window and pulls him out of the car
Police say the boy was not harmed during the thwarted kidnapping
McGonagle and the other man were also seen on the video fleeing south on Hillside, before turning west onto Jamaica Avenue.
The chilling incident comes as crime rates in New York continue to soar, with gun violence surging and attacks on the city’s subway systems and in the streets becoming increasingly common.
Anyone with information on the thwarted kidnapping in Queens is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).