Editor’s note: As the two have been found safe, the images and names of the child and mother have been removed from this article.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester police say the man arrested in connection to Saturday’s abduction case knew the mother, and say it was a targeted incident.
“I can say this was not a random act. The mother of the child and our suspect, Daniel Ponder, do know each other. We are trying to work through, ultimately, what the motive was and what led up to this occurring,” said Lt. Greg Bello.
Lt. Bello also says the department is working to identify other possible suspects.
Meanwhile, the Bivona Child Advocacy Center has confirmed they are supporting the mother and child.
Bivona president and CEO Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres issued the following statement:
“Our purpose at Bivona Child Advocacy Center is to seek and support children who have been impacted by the trauma of abuse. Our main priority is to ensure the safety, healing, and well-being for children as well as our multidisciplinary team at Bivona who work directly with them. Bivona stands at the ready to support children and caregivers. If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of a child in your life, please contact Bivona or law enforcement for assistance.”
The United States Marshal’s Task Force has located the 24-year-old man responsible for the abduction of a 4-year-old child and his mother Saturday, the Rochester Police Department announced.
According to Rochester police, Daniel Ponder, 24, was located on Wellington Avenue.
After a short chase, RPD says they were able to take him safely into custody.
Ponder was taken to Monroe County Jail and is expected to be arraigned Sunday morning in Rochester City Court.
Ponder is charged with the following:
- Two counts of kidnapping in the second degree
- Burglary in the first degree
- Assault in the second degree
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree
- Reckless endangerment in the second degree
- Endangering the welfare of a child
ORIGINAL STORY (3/25):
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A 4-year-old boy and his young mother have been found, officers with the Rochester Police Department said at 4 p.m. Saturday. They are safe, officers said, but suspects have not yet been apprehended.
In a 5 p.m. briefing, RPD officers shared details of their recovery, and commended the community and law enforcement agencies across the area for their assistance. Officers clarified that the investigation is not closed, and they are still seeking public assistance in finding information about and footage of the incident.
At 1:30 a.m. Saturday, RPD responded to the 400 block of Lake Avenue for a SpotShotter activation, as well as 911 calls reporting a man being chased.
Once officers arrived on scene, they located evidence of shots fired, and a victim who said he’d been shot at in a residence on nearby Fulton Street. Police said the victim ran from the home, when he was located by officers.
When the officers and victim returned to the residence, RPD said they found that a 4-year-old boy and his 23-year-old mother were missing from the location.
“It was an obvious, forceful abduction,” Lieutenant Greg Bello said Saturday evening.
The search led to a house on Kenwood Avenue, in the southwest portion of the city. There, the RPD’s SWAT was activated and the residence was searched. However, the two were not found there, and an AMBER alert was released.
Within minutes of the alert, RPD said that law enforcement partners in the area reached out to assist in the investigation. Additionally, community members reached out to share updated images of the two.
RPD representatives commended the help of the community, saying that the boy’s daycare even reached out with photos.
“Some investigators and some of our officers have been working on this since 1:30 a.m. this morning — haven’t gone home,” Bello said, describing the mindset of officers involved. “Nobody’s going home until this situation is safely resolved. As you saw in the pictures — it’s a 4-year-old innocent child that’s a victim of a crime here. We’re going to do everything we can to ensure the safe return of that child. And, by the grace of God, thank God — today, that’s what occurred.”
At around 3 p.m. investigators received a tip that the child was inside a home on Reynolds Street. Officers found both the boy and his mother at the house.
Officers clarified that that are still searching for the perpetrators involved.
“Just because we found the mom and the child does not mean that the situation is over,” Bello said. “This is a heinous crime that was committed in our city.”
Police encourage residents in that area to check their security footage and dash cams, and to reach out if you see unusual activity on your cameras.
Anyone with any information is asked to call 911, RPD at (585) 428-6666, 866 NYS-AMBER or call 911.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.