Crime

Three charged with kidnapping 5-year-old girl from her University Place home

A Puyallup woman kidnapped her 5-year-old granddaughter and punched a little boy in the face when he tried to intervene, Pierce County prosecutors allege.

The incident took place Thursday at the girl’s home in the 5700 block of 59th Street Court West in University Place.

Court records gave this account:

The 5-year-old’s mother said she heard a knock on the door, opened it and a man pushed his way inside. The girl’s grandmother, Bernita McDowell, and another woman, Kaile Elliott, followed.

McDowell’s son is the father of the 5-year-old; McDowell is not related to the girl’s mother.

The man, identified as Wayne Dirks, allegedly grabbed the mother by the hair and slammed her to the ground. Her 10-year-old son tried to protect his mother and McDowell punched him in the face.

Elliott then grabbed the 5-year-old girl from a bedroom and they put her in a truck. The mother stood in front of the vehicle to block them from leaving but “Dirks accelerated forward causing her to jump out of the way to avoid being run over,” charging papers state.

The mother called 911 and sheriff’s deputies arrived just as the truck was leaving. A deputy pulled the truck over and found the 5-year-old girl inside, “crying and afraid.”

Prosecutors charged McDowell, 50, Dirks, 52, and Elliott, 36, with second-degree kidnapping, fourth-degree assault and first-degree burglary. All pleaded not guilty and were ordered jailed.

McDowell allegedly told deputies she was there to serve custody papers but could produce no documentation. Deputies said there were no legal documents in the truck.

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