A grand jury indicted a Fresh Meadows man, who on Friday, July 23, was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on charges of attempted kidnapping and other crimes for allegedly grabbing a 5-year-old boy off a Richmond Hill sidewalk as he walked with his family earlier this month.
James McGonagle, 24, of Parsons Boulevard near the Pomonok Houses, was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice John Zoll on a two-count indictment charging him with attempted kidnapping in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
According to the charges, McGonagle was observed on video surveillance exiting a red vehicle that had been parked on the street in front of 117-07 Hillside Ave. around 8 p.m. on July 15. He allegedly charged at the 5-year-old victim, picked him up and tossed him into the back seat of the red car.
The victim’s 45-year-old mother, Dolores Diaz Lopez, ran to the vehicle with her two children, reached inside the opened window, grabbed her son and attempted to pull him out of the car, according to the charges. McGonagle allegedly clutched the child’s leg from the opposite side of the car and attempted to pull him back into the vehicle.
Katz said that during the struggle, a male passenger who had been seated in the vehicle was heard asking McGonagle, “What are you doing?” McGonagle allegedly responded, “We are taking the kid.
Lopez was able to pull her son through the window and out of the car. Seconds later, McGonagle sped off.
McGonagle was arrested on July 16 after he was spotted by police officers inside Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, where he was being treated for facial injuries, according to the charges. McGonagle was not indicted on a later charge that he assaulted a police officer when he was taken into custody. The passenger in the car, believed to be the defendant’s father, has avoided arrest and the investigation is ongoing, according to the NYPD.
“In a brazen fashion, the defendant grabbed the little boy, who was just a few steps from his mother, and allegedly tried to kidnap him,” Katz said. “This is a parent’s worst fear. This mother fought to save her son. Never underestimate the power of a mom. Thankfully he has been apprehended and will face justice.”
Justice Zoll ordered McGonagle to return to court on Sept. 8. McGonagle faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.