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Probationer charged with trying to snatch boys at Lake Elsinore park

 

Last updated 3/13/2019 at 1:19pm

Riverside County Sheriff's Department

Marcus Joseph DeWitt was arrested after he allegedly tried to snatch the children at Rosetta Canyon Sports Park.

RIVERSIDE - A probationer accused of attempting to abduct two boys in Lake Elsinore was charged on Wednesday, March 13 with kidnapping to commit rape and other offenses.

Marcus Joseph DeWitt, 29, of Lake Elsinore was arrested Monday after he allegedly tried to snatch the children at Rosetta Canyon Sports Park in the 44400 block of Ardenwood Way.

Along with the kidnapping count, DeWitt is charged with attempted kidnapping to commit rape and forcible lewd acts on a minor.

He's being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta and is slated to make his initial court appearance this afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Steve Fredericks, DeWitt entered the park about 11:30 a.m. Monday and headed into the playground.

Fredericks alleged that the defendant walked over to a 3-year-old boy and grabbed him by the arm as the child romped inside playground equipment. Because of the configuration of the apparatus, DeWitt was unable to pull the boy out, and he gave up, immediately turning his attention on a 4-year-old boy playing nearby, the sergeant alleged.

The probationer allegedly scooped up that child, possibly groped him and tried to leave the area, but "the victim's parents and other family members observed the abduction and were able to catch DeWitt and wrestle the child out of his grasp,'' Fredericks said.

He said the 6-foot, 4-inch, 275-pound defendant attempted to run away but was pulled down by a male relative of the boy.

Additional witnesses ran to the man's aid and helped hold DeWitt until deputies were summoned, according to Fredericks.

No one was injured, including the children, he said.

Deputies took DeWitt into custody without a struggle.

According to court records, he has prior misdemeanor convictions for lewd and lascivious conduct, obstruction of justice, violating a court restraining order and vandalism.

 

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