BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – A father rescued his 9-year-old daughter from an alleged abductor minutes after a man dragged her from her backyard, police said.

James Stephens, 44, is expected to be arraigned Tuesday on suspicion of kidnapping and attempted aggravated sexual assault. He was being held Saturday for lack of $100,000 bail.

“While in custody, Stephens made statements to investigating officers as to a sexual nature regarding his intentions,” police said in a news release.

Only the suspect’s name has been released. Police said Stephens is a transient who came to Vermont five months ago from Arkansas, police said. He has a South Burlington address.

The alleged attack happened around 7 p.m. Saturday at the South Meadow Apartments off of Home Avenue. The girl was outside playing with friends when Stephens pulled her from a back yard to a hidden place nearby behind the Price Chopper shopping plaza on Shelburne Road, police said.

One of the other girls told the girl’s father, who called 911 and ran looking for her.

He found her a minute later, pushed Stephens against a wall, and held him until police arrived, police said.

Stephens was treated at Fletcher Allen Health Care for head injuries and then jailed. The girl was not injured.

Lt. Tim Charland praised the father for helping with the arrest and for his “restraint” once he found the suspect.


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