Surveillance footage taken outside a K-8 school was released to the public
A man in Colorado was charged with the attempted kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl after images of surveillance footage were released to the public.
Diego James Gettler was arrested and charged after his parents told police they believed the suspect was their son after seeing the photos, according to court documents.
Gettler, 28, was arrested on Monday after police say he attempted to nab a girl outside the STEM Launch K-8 school in the city of Thornton, Colorado. The attempted kidnapping took place around 7:30 a.m. on September 23, Thornton Police Department said.
Gettler was charged on Thursday with second-degree kidnapping.
The victim told police that after her mother had dropped her off at school, she went and sat on the front steps when a man approached her and asked if she was a student at the school, per an arrest affidavit obtained by People.
The girl says the suspect then went behind her and up the steps before turning around and back in her direction.
"The male made her feel uncomfortable, so she stood up as he was walking back down the stairs," court docs say. "The male grabbed [her] at this point, in a manner she described as him wrapping his hands and arms around her waist from behind."
The victim started to scream and the man is said to have covered her mouth with his hands, per the affidavit.
Investigators say the girl was able to pull down the suspect's mask during the ensuing struggle, which apparently frightened the man as he then fled the scene.
Investigators later found surveillance footage allegedly showing the man park a gray Saturn Aura in the vicinity of the school. Footage is said to later show him running off and climbing into the passenger side of the Saturn and driving away.
Authorities then released images from the surveillance footage of the suspect, which showed him in a black sweatshirt, black pants and black shoes.
Photos of the vehicle, showing damage to the driver's side, were also released to the public.
Three days after the attempted abduction, on September 26, Gettler's parents went to the Thornton police station and told investigators they believed their son may have been the suspect.
The affidavit says the parents went to police "based on photographs from the surveillance that was released, as well as his vehicle matching the unique characteristics of the suspect vehicle in this case."
"[His parents] stated Diego owns and operates a gray Saturn Aura which has damage on the driver side," the affidavit stated. "[His parents] further confirmed that Diego has to enter the vehicle from the passenger side."
Investigators said the suspect's cellular phone pinged in the area of the school during the time frame of the attempted kidnapping.
Gettler was arrested on September 26 while inside his car outside a Home Depot in Parker, Colorado.