9-year-old shares harrowing story of near-abduction at Fridley apartment complex

Police investigating attempted abduction in Fridley

Police investigating attempted abduction in Fridley

Fridley Police have requested the public’s help in finding the person suspected of trying to abduct a young girl.

It happened in the parking lot of the apartment complex where Katalaya Delgadillo Hernandez, age 9, lives with her mom and siblings along Cheri Lane NE in Fridley on Friday, July 21.

It was still light outside when Delgadillo Hernandez went to grab something out of her mom’s car.

“No one ever stared at me like that before,” she said, describing the moment things took a turn on her quick trip from the apartment building to the parking lot.

The person Delgadillo Hernandez referenced was a white man, likely in his 20s or 30s, in a nearby car, she said. Within the next minute or so, she said he drove up next to her mom’s vehicle.

“Then he got out of the car and he said, ‘Come get in my car,'” the 9-year-old said. “He grabbed my hand and my mouth, and he told me to shut up.”

“When I was trying to pull away, he finally let me go, and I started running,” she recalled. “It just felt scary and like I was going to die or something.”

A week and a half later, her mom, Doris Hernandez, was still in disbelief.

“I’ve had these conversations with her, but I never actually thought you know, ‘Oh my God, one day she’s gonna put this into practice,'” Hernandez said, holding her youngest child in her arms.

Delgadillo Hernandez has been staying with her grandfather since the weekend of the incident.

“In my 16 years here, I haven’t, I don’t recall anything similar to this happening,” said Fridley Police Lieutenant Kevin Titus, who also urged parents to talk to their kids about strangers and advise them to do just as Delgadillo Hernandez did.

“She said no to him, and she yelled, and then she broke free and then she told her mom, so she did exactly what she should have done in this case,” Lt. Titus said.

“The National Safety Council advises ‘No. Go. Yell. Tell.’ And in that case, you say ‘no’ to the stranger. You go away from them,” he continued. “You yell for help, and then you tell your parents or a safe adult, someone that you recognize as a trustworthy person.”

Investigators are searching for a blue, likely dark blue, vehicle with a hatchback, Titus said.

From video obtained from the apartment complex, “You can see it’s a hatchback style vehicle with the lights on,” Titus added. “Due to the position of the sun and the cameras, we’re not able to ascertain the make and model of the suspect vehicle that’s involved.”

“We are positive that that vehicle was the one that was indeed involved in this incident,” he continued, adding that investigators have poured through additional cameras since and are continuing to work this case.

Courtesy of Fridley Police Department

“So far, we’ve probably logged about 40 to 70 hours of investigation over the last week trying to figure out who this person is and what their potential motives were in this case,” Titus said.

He requested that anyone who has a camera or “saw anything suspicious” on or near Cheri Lane NE near the Menards in south Fridley on July 21 come forward.

“We want to solve this crime,” he said.

“I’m glad that she did everything right and that she was quick and brave,” Hernandez said, standing in the parking spot where the incident is said to have taken place. “I can’t express how I really feel, I hope they find this guy and my daughter just feels safe again.”

To share information or video with investigators, call Anoka County Dispatch (763-427-1212) or the Fridley Police Department during business hours (763-572-3629).

Tips can also be sent anonymously through tip411 by texting 847411. In the text, first type “FRIDLEY,” add a space, type your tip and press “send.”