A one-year-old girl who had been taken by an escaping criminal suspect early this afternoon has been returned to a family member, police have confirmed.
The child, the daughter of the woman who allegedly helped the suspect escape from a parked patrol car, was brought to family living in a Stratford Place apartment complex around 4:30 this afternoon by Newark police.
A woman who lives across the street from the building said that around 2:30 this afternoon, she saw police with an infant who had apparently been left at the corner of Stratford Place and Clinton Avenue, a half block from the family member's residence. The woman, who declined to be identified, said police were trying to find out who the child belonged to.
The child was returned to family after being taken by a 16-year-old youth who had been in police custody earlier today.
The remarkable string of events began around noon, when officers responded to 140 Clinton Pl. on a report of a person trying to break into a car in front of Hawthorne Avenue School. Canvassing officers found the teenaged suspect, a city resident, who matched a description. He was placed in the back of a marked patrol car while police continued to investigate.
Shaquana Council, 26, of Newark, then allegedly arrived at the scene in a grey Dodge Durango, left her vehicle and opened the police car door, releasing the suspect, who then entered the Durango and fled with Council’s child inside. Council, who was left at the scene, was placed under arrest.
A department spokesman said this afternoon that it is not yet known whether the suspect had been handcuffed or how Council came to be at the scene.
Shortly afterwards, a patrolling officer spotted the Durango and chased it until getting into an accident with a civilian motorist near Bergen Street and Custer Avenue. The officer and the motorist both suffered minor injuries.
The Durango was recovered this afternoon on Elizabeth Avenue.The suspect remains at large.
Lia Eustachewich contributed to this report.