Prosecutors in Wyandotte County charged two people in connection with the kidnapping of toddler from a gas station Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan.
Tyler Letzig and Karri Anne Reich were each charged Friday with one count of kidnapping, child endangerment and theft. They are accused of stealing a 2006 Ford Focus from a Valero gas station at South Seventh Street and Riverview Avenue with a sleeping 3-year-old in the back seat.
Authorities found the car and the child about 8 p.m. Wednesday near 190th Street and Evans Road in Tonganoxie in Leavenworth County. She was not hurt but was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
Surveillance video captured the moment the toddler was abducted.
Letzig was in custody Friday in Leavenworth County, while Reich is still at large, prosecutors said. Bond for Letzig was set at $100,000.
At a news conference Friday to announce the charges, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said collaboration between law enforcement and the media helped the child return home unharmed.
A cellphone had been left in the stolen car, and police were able to “ping” its approximate location. When the pinging stopped in the area of Interstate 70 and 206th Street, police requested help from other law enforcement agencies with an aircraft.
But none was immediately available.
However, a helicopter crew from KSHB Channel 41 was able to locate the car on a dirt road and guide police to the scene.
Officers from the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, Wyandotte County sheriff’s deputies, troopers from the Kansas Highway Patrol, and federal agents all aided in the search, Dupree said.
He added that officers from Tonganoxie, Basehor and Leavenworth County were also instrumental in the search.
“The collaboration was plentiful,” Dupree said, adding, “the news media played a major part in finding this child.”
Reich pleaded guilty in June to possession of methamphetamine and fleeing and eluding a police officer, according to Wyandotte County court records.
Her sentencing in that case is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Star’s Tony Rizzo and Matt Campbell contributed to this report.