Ringtone Helps Girl Identify Kidnapper

Ringtone Helps Girl Identify Kidnapper
YELM, WASH. - A Pierce County man is in jail for a botched attempt at kidnapping a young girl. It happened March 8th on a rural road near Yelm.

According to court documents, a 12-year-old girl was walking home after getting off the school bus when a man wearing a camouflage mask grabbed her from behind and tied a towel around her head to keep the girl from seeing his face.

The attacker then taped the girls hands and dragged her into the nearby woods. He then held her neck from behind as he marched her further into the woods before stopping to tape her ankles together.

It was at this point, Pierce County deputy prosecutor Mary Robnett wrote in charging papers, that the man's cell phone rang.

The blindfolded victim apparently recognized the phone's unique ringtone and said, "Jimmy you are scaring me. If it’s you Jimmy, stop it."

The startled attacker ran off, leaving the girl bound and alone in the woods. She managed to free herself and ran home where she reported the attack to her dad, who called police.

The victim's account of the incident and description of the attacker led police to 40-year-old James Walters, who was charged Tuesday with kidnapping and indecent liberties.

Walters lives in the same neighborhood as the victim.

When detectives searched his home they found his cell phone and several camouflage face masks.

The attack has put people in the quiet neighborhood on alert.

"I have two grand daughters that catch the bus at the driveway next to ours," said Jo Papworth, who learned about the incident through a Sheriff’s alert her granddaughter brought home. "Now, you see parents. They come out with their kids... they're never really alone."

Walters is being held in the Pierce County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. A criminal trial was tentatively scheduled for May 6.