Man facing kidnapping charge, accused of grabbing child at DeSoto County campground - 96.9 WINK FM

Man facing kidnapping charge, accused of grabbing child at DeSoto County campground


A man is facing a kidnapping charge after a family says he was in the woods with one of their children at the Peace River Camp Ground in DeSoto County.

The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 26-year-old Robert Barrera after he was held from leaving by the kid’s family at the campground.

According to an arrest report, the family staying at the campground was sitting by a fire with their kids playing nearby when they noticed their daughter was missing. The sheriff’s office says they didn’t know she had gone to sleep in a tent. The arrest report says they began looking for their daughter and noticed a man sitting with their children but initially dismissed it as one of their older children because it was dark.

Deputies say the family’s 8-year-old son began to help search for his sister and took off toward the river with a flashlight. The family told deputies they found their missing daughter but could no longer see their 8-year-old son and began calling his name. Deputies say the boy’s father heard him crying near the river and found his son with Barrera.

According to the arrest report, the father questioned Barrera about why he was there and with his children. Barrera told the father that he was also camping at the campground but would not answer why he was sitting with the man’s children. According to the report, the family then walked Barrera away from their campsite and told him to stay away.

Deputies say the father had a strange feeling, so he waited in the dark, keeping an eye on his kids after Barrera left. The report says Barrera returned, and the father pointed a light at him, causing Barrera to run into the woods. The father caught up to Barrera after he said Barrera ran into a tree and held him until deputies arrived.

According to the arrest report, deputies spoke to the 8-year-old, who said he had grabbed a flashlight and walked toward the river to help find his sister. The boy told deputies that Barrera had followed him, grabbed him by the arm, and dragged him toward the water. The boy said he could hear his family shouting his name and was crying while trying to escape Barrera.

The boy told deputies that Barrera let go when he heard the family getting close, and the boy was able to run away from Barrera.

When deputies questioned Barrera, he was in the hospital being treated for injuries sustained during the incident. Barrera told deputies that he was camping at the campground to ‘get away.’ He said his friends had pushed him off a golf cart and got lost when he heard the family shouting someone’s name.

Barrera told deputies when he heard the yelling; he went to help with the search. Barrera said he was with the 8-year-old by the river and had taken the flashlight from the boy to search the river, but said he never grabbed the boy by the arm. He also said he was not sitting with the children but was running by when the family saw him.

According to the arrest report, Barrera said he was running back in the other direction when the family saw him the second time. When deputies asked if he approached the children again, he got angry and yelled that he should not help.

When deputies questioned Barrera about his injuries, he initially said he got them from running into a tree, then said someone had hit him but did not want to make a statement about it. Deputies say Barrera had a bloody nose and was bleeding from around his eye when they arrived at the campground.

Based on the evidence gathered and the statements made by the family and the child, the sheriff’s office arrested Barrera, who is being held without bond, facing a charge of kidnapping.


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