Taskforce created to help catch kidnapping suspect

January 30, 2013 6:47:32 PM PST
Philadelphia police say they have created a taskforce to help catch the suspect who kidnapped a 5-year-old girl from her school.

The taskforce, comprised of approximately six detectives from around the city, will work with Special Victims Unit, Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross told Action News Wednesday night.

"Special Victims has been working tirelessly since this happened, but we are going to keep working until we find out who's responsible," Ross said.

Ross said they are getting a lot of help from the community, along with Mayor Michael Nutter and Senator Anthony Williams.

"A lot people are helping us, but we still have so many questions. This little girl deserves more and we are going to give it to her in the form of our action," Ross said.

The news of a taskforce comes a day after police released surveillance video of the Muslim garbed kidnapping suspect walking along 61st Street headed to the Bryant Elementary school at 60th and Cedar.

This took place moments before she kidnapped a 5-year-old girl from her classroom, claiming to be her mother.

The video shows the suspect walked to the school and knows the Cobbs Creek neighborhood.

From several angles she appears pregnant.

Everything involving this case happened within a period of 14 minutes, from 8:42 am to 8:56 a.m.

She was inside Bryant Elementary for exactly 6 minutes.

"As she's walking in, she's carrying the umbrella, she also has a white blanket, towel, [or] coat, one of those three, but this umbrella is rather large and it has a large J-shape handle that's either wood or plastic," Philadelphia Lt. Stephen Beillo said.

Action News spoke with the school's new principal, 42-year district veteran Michael Rosenberg, at dismissal time.

He was wrapping up his first day on the job, getting to know parents, trying to rebuild their confidence in the wake of the complete breakdown of security procedures that permitted the kidnapping.

"What I'm trying to do is get to know the community. I'm trying to work with the staff. I'm trying to get as much input as I can as to what are the strengths, what are the challenges, what's the deployment of folks around the building, what are our procedures and policies, and are we putting them into effect so we have a safe and secure environment for all the kids," Rosenberg said.

Most parents and caregivers believe the change of leadership at the top is more than necessary.

"I think that was just due and I'm hoping he keeps up what needs to be done," Renel Gibbs, grandmother of a Bryant Elementary student, said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477), send a text message to PPD TIP (773847) or send a tip through phillypolice.com.