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One day after a seven-year-old girl was abducted, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office talks about why there was no Amber Alert.

Col. John Fortunato says an Amber Alert was moments away from being activated: “Once we got notification that the child was located over on West William David then there was no need to send out an Amber Alert.”

“We were talking to JPSO at the time,” says Lt. Julie Lewis from the Louisiana State Police, who authorizes final Amber Alert activations.

One hour passed since the initial 911 kidnapping report to when the girl was found.

“They did call,” says Lewis. “Gave us a heads up saying look, look, look. We think we have a kidnapping scenario that’s going to meet the Amber Alert criteria. We were headed that way in that process. But they found the child before we needed to.”

Fortunato says family pointed deputies to where the suspect, 29 year old Steven Carter was hiding out.

“We had a suspect in custody in less than nine hours,” according to Fortunato. “We went there. Found his car. Found him and booked him. There’s no prior criminal history. Just a known drug addict.”

Since Louisiana enacted the Amber alert system in October of 2002 there have been twelve Amber Alert activations. State police say the last time was a 2009 kidnapping out of Shreveport.

Steven-David-Carter-277×177Jefferson Parish deputies have arrested 29-year-old Steven David Carter in the kidnapping of a 7-year-old girl in Metairie.

Late Wednesday night, Sheriff Newell Normand said Carter, of 4108 Iowa Street in Kenner, was charged with one count of aggravated kidnapping of a child and other charges.

Frantic family members called Jefferson Parish deputies to the Yorkshire Edenborn Apartments just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies say Carter walked into the courtyard several times, before picking the little girl up from behind and taking her to his small gold car.

Later, a woman found the child in the 900 block of West William David Parkway.

Meanwhile, investigators say they went to Iowa Street to find Carter, but a family member said he was staying at 1125 North Tonti Street in New Orleans.

Detectives say they found a gold-colored vehicle in the 1100 block of North Tonti Street,  that they believed belong to Carter. It was towed to the Jefferson Parish crime lab for processing.

Shortly after, Carter was placed under arrest and was transported to the Jefferson Parish Criminal Investigations Bureau for questioning. The little girl was taken to Children’s Hospital for examination.

7-year Old Abducted Then Found, Suspect Still At LargeJefferson Parish deputies are searching for a man wanted for kidnapping a seven year-old girl.

It happened at a Metairie apartment complex around 5pm Wednesday.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter spoke exclusively with the family moments after the abduction.

“The lady ain’t, (inaudible) (stomping)…. Father God please,” the victim’s grandmother Patricia Butler-Jones pleaded.

It was too much to believe; and for neighborhood kids who saw it happen, it was far too hard to understand.

“The children, the children saw the man,” Butler-Jones said.

“I heard them yelling and I thought they were playing or I would have come out of my apartment and I would have run after that guy,” said an unidentified neighbor.

Frantic family members called Jefferson Parish deputies to the Yorkshire Edenborn Apartments just before 5pm.

They were responding to reports that an unknown, tall white male entered the gated complex and kidnapped a little girl.

Trotter asked, “What does she look like? She looks like me with long hair,” Butler-Jones replied. “She has plaits in her hair.” “She’s light skinned, she’s seven years old y’all she seven years old (sobbing).”

Neighbors say it’s not unusual for large groups of children to play in the courtyard.

“The danger is when no adult no family member is even out here with them and that’s what happened in this case.”

“I had to run down to my sister apartment and tell her somebody took her baby,” the victim’s aunt Danielle Glasby said.

Family members say the security gate was at least part of the problem.

“The gate is supposed to be locked. It ain’t ever locked. Never locked,” Butler-Jones said.

“When they play by themselves anybody can come in and get them,” a neighbor said.

“The manager don’t even fix the lock or the gate, you just push it open,” Butler-Jones said. “It’s supposed to have a combination you key.”

Neighbors were visibly uncomfortable as they watched the real life drama of the family torn to pieces.

Everyone appeared worried because every minute that passed seemed like an eternity; as the search for the driver of a gold colored sedan continued.

“Bring her back to us,” Butler-Jones pleaded. “Don’t hurt her at all. She’s only seven years old. She’s seven. Jesus (inaudible).”

One hour and one minute after the first emergency call came another.

This one offered a glimmer of hope, from five miles away.

A woman on William David Parkway was approached by the little girl looking for help and belting out a jaw dropping story about being abducted.

“I’m glad they found her,” neighbor Janet Schindler said. “I hope she wasn’t hurt in anyway.”

She was examined at Children’s Hospital.

Late Wednesday deputies were still searching for the suspect.


JPSO Col. John Fortunato tells WGNO News this surveillance photo shows the car driven by the man believed to have kidnapped a 7-year-old  girl on Wednesday.

Anyone with information about this vehicle is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 504-822-1111 or the JPSO Investigations Bureau at 504-364-5300.

williamsThe Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office reports 7-year-old Ja’Toria Williams was found safe.

A woman told deputies that Williams approached her in the 900 block of West William David Parkway, just over 2 miles from her home, and told her she had been kidnapped.

The suspect has not been identified or captured.

williamsJefferson Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Col. John Fortunato tells WGNO News that a 7-year-old girl was kidnapped shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the girl’s grandmother, Ja’Toria Williams was grabbed by a man outside her home at the Yorkshire Edenborn Apartments (3420 Edenborn Ave, near West Esplanade Ave).

The suspect is described as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, with spiky black hair and a mustache, wearing khaki pants and a black shirt. He was driving a gold car.