Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove the victim's name.
Newly released police body camera footage shows the suspenseful moment when law enforcement smashed through a hotel room door to rescue an 8-year-old child from a suspected kidnapper.
Michael Webb, who was convicted in September for kidnapping the victim in May, was sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 14, officials announced. The courts released the dramatic video, which was obtained by the Associated Press, following Webb’s sentencing on Thursday.
In the body camera footage from May 19, about a dozen police officers huddle around a Fort Worth hotel room door with a battering ram.
“Fort Worth Police Department, open the door!” one officer shouts.
The next instant, police barge through the doorway and swarm the room. One officer walks over to a laundry basket. Inside the clothes bin is the girl, who had been abducted by Webb a day earlier.
“We got her, we got her!” officers yell.
Police then wrap the 8-year-old in a towel and rush her down a staircase and out to a patrol car.
“Come on, sweetheart,” says the officer wearing the body camera, addressing the young girl. “You’re OK? You’re safe?”
“Yeah,” she responded.
The child, who survived the incident, was transported to the hospital and has since recovered, police said.
On May 18, around 6:30 p.m., the victim and her mother were walking on a residential Fort Worth street when a gray Ford passed by and “cat called” the pair. Webb, the driver of the car, then pulled over, got out, approached them, and asked the girl’s mother “if she liked money,” according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
A brief scuffle ensued, Webb wrestled the child away from the woman, and he sped off in his car leaving the girl’s mother on the ground.
An Amber Alert was quickly issued as Fort Worth authorities, along with the FBI and Homeland Security, scrambled to locate the child.
Following a tip the next day, Forest Hill police responded to Webb’s room at WoodSpring Suites in Fort Worth where the victim was later found — but after a brief search officers were unable to locate the girl. Webb, officials said, had supposedly threatened the girl and hid her in a “small laundry basket” prior to their arrival.
Then, shortly after midnight, police received another tip that a vehicle matching the description of the suspected kidnapper’s gray Ford was at the same hotel police had just inspected. Investigators observed “fresh blood” in “plain view” on the car’s passenger seat, the arrest affidavit stated.
They later barged into the room where Webb was staying, rescued the girl, and arrested the 51-year-old kidnapper.
“The video speaks for itself on how heroic these officers were,” Graciano Calzada, a spokesperson for Fort Worth Police Department, told Oxygen.com. “It just shows the care that this department has for our citizens whether it be a minor crime or a crime of this magnitude.”
Webb later confessed to carrying out the kidnapping during a three-hour interview with FBI agents. He admitted to driving the victim to a church parking lot before taking her to Forest Hill’s WoodSprings Suites hotel.
“Michael Webb stole this victim’s innocence,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox in a statement on Twitter. “She now knows that there is evil in this world. Evil has a face, and that face is Michael Webb’s. We are gratified that he will be spending the rest of his life in federal prison.”
Webb was convicted in September during the course of a two-day trial. The jury took less than 10 minutes to deliberate in reaching a verdict, officials said.
“A dangerous predator is spending the rest of his life behind bars because law enforcement and citizen volunteers worked tirelessly to safely bring the victim home,” FBI Special Agent Matthew J. DeSarno said. “Today’s sentence sends an important message to all predators. We will not allow any crime against children to go unpunished.”
Sergeant Richardson Wolfe, the Forest Hill police officer who initially responded to the kidnapper’s hotel room and failed to find the girl was fired following Webb’s arrest, according to WFAA.
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