Police: Pair asked to buy children from mom in St. Paul park

- Two people were arrested for allegedly attempting to kidnap a woman’s two daughters in a restroom at Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul, Minn. Tuesday night.

The family was enjoying at nice night at the park when the incident occurred. The mother had taken her daughters to the bathroom and was in a stall with her youngest daughter while her four-year-old daughter stood outside the stall with the door closed, according to St. Paul police.  While the mother was tending to the child in the stall, she heard the four-year-old speaking to somebody within the restroom.

She asked her daughter who she was talking to and heard someone shush the four-year-old as though they were telling her to be quiet. The mother panicked.

“She opened the door to the stall to see an adult female holding her daughter’s hand in the bathroom,” Sgt. Mike Ernster told Fox 9.

The mother confronted the woman, who police later identified as Carmen Moreno Santiago, 59. Santiago then asked the mother if she could buy her children.

“The mother was so upset by it she just left the bathroom immediately when that was asked,” Ernster said.

But, Santiago was not alone. Thomas Lee Johnson, 60, was standing near the doorway.

“She felt [Johnson’s] presence was more protecting the other woman that was in there trying to offer this money for her children,” Ernster said.

The mother took her two daughters over to their father in the park, who then flagged down a nearby park police officer. Due to an already heightened police presence in Mounds Park, officers were close by and managed to stop the pair’s car as it left.

Santiago and Johnson are now in custody. No charges have been filed.

“They may have seen them in the park and saw when they went into the restroom as their time to act,” Ernster said. “We do not know. Hopefully, the investigation bears that out.”

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