8-Year-Old Kidnapping Victim Found Safe; Suspect In Custody

Alan Scaia
May 20, 2019 - 8:05 am
Fort Worth Police Press Conference

Credit: Alan Scaia, 1080 KRLD


FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - The eight year old girl who was kidnapped as she walked with her mother in the Ryan Place neighborhood of Fort Worth was found safe, and a 51 year old man was arrested in the case.

"You all made a difference, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you," Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald told a crowd gathered outside the home of Salem Sabatka.

Related: Kidnapped 8-Year-Old Fort Worth Girl Found Safe

Hundreds of people gathered outside her home after Sabatka was abducted Saturday evening. Teams of people started searching.

About 2:30 Sunday morning, Jeff King, the pastor of Bear Creek Bible Church spotted the suspect's car at a hotel about 12 miles away.

"It was an overjoying experience," King says. "I feel like God allowed me to be a tool."

King says he knows the girl's father. He and a friend spent several hours driving around Saturday night, looking at parks and only pulled into the hotel on a whim.

"I have two boys, and I would have wanted as many eyes looking out for my boys as possible," he says.

Many of the same people returned to Ryan Place Sunday and walked through the neighborhood to show support for the family. Mayor Betsy Price joined the group.

“I know I was, and most of you were on bended knee praying for her family and for our police officers," Price says. "This was a time when social media was a force for good.”

The suspect, Michael Webb, 51, has been charged with aggravated kidnapping. He has a history that includes burglary and drug possession. He also was charged with sexual assault of a woman in Smith County, in East Texas, but that case was dismissed.

​Many people who live Ryan Place and the neighboring Fairmount Historic District posted pictures of the car taken from a homeowner's doorbell camera.

"We just consider this all our area," says one woman who lives about ten blocks from the girl's home. "Even if it happened anywhere in Fort Worth, we would be there. It affects all of us as parents."

"That doesn't happen everywhere in the United States," Fitzgerald says. "They become the search party, they become the rescuers, they become the heroes here in the City of Fort Worth. We're damn proud of it."