Tenn. Hospital Employee Helps Rescue Kidnapped Child
The employee recognized the child from a recent Amber Alert.
A hospital employee in Memphis is being praised after she alerted authorities to the presence of a suspected kidnapper and missing child in her hospital Oct. 10.
Police say 23-year-old Kaitlyn Brown’s actions led to the arrest of the suspect and return of the 4-year-old girl to safety.
Brown, a clinical assistant at Baptist Memorial Hospital’s Memphis facility, had noticed an Amber Alert for the missing girl on Facebook minutes before seeing the two people walking down a hallway of the hospital, according to commercialappeal.com.
“I was just clenching my phone in my pocket, just trying to get somewhere as fast as I could,” Brown says of her reaction to seeing the girl. “My heart was like in my stomach the whole time. I couldn’t hold my phone still. The only think I could think about was the little girl. We need to get her, we need to get her.”
Brown quickly alerted her father, a head nurse who’s worked at the hospital for 23 years, about what she saw. Brown and her father walked by the suspect to confirm his identity then went straight to hospital security.
Hospital security called Memphis police, who arrested the suspect in a stolen vehicle outside of the hospital minutes later. The suspect, who changed his name from Mathew Pybus to West Wild Hogs, was taken into custody without incident and will likely be extradited to Florida, where the kidnapping allegedly occurred.
The 4-year-old victim was found to be in good health by paramedics and returned to her family Oct. 11. Hogs was a friend of the victim’s family when he allegedly took her from Florida’s Lazy Dazy Retreat RV/ Mobile Home Park Oct. 8.
An Amber Alert was immediately issued in the area of the kidnapping, then issued in East Tennessee early Oct. 10 after the two were spotted there. The alert was issued in Memphis later that day and Brown recognized the suspect less than an hour later.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Spokesman Josh DeVine says it was a difficult decision to issue so many alerts but was happy it ultimately worked out.
“There was no indication that the man she was believed to be with had any kind of criminal history in terms of information coming from the state of Florida to us here at TBI,” DeVine says. “We do not want the public to get Amber Fatigue.”
Meanwhile, Brown says she’s received an outpouring of support since the rescue.
“It’s very overwhelming,” Brown says of the encouraging messages she’s received in person and online. “All day it’s people just been saying thank you to me and hugging me. I’m more thankful that I was in that spot at the time, that it was still fresh in my memory. I’m glad I acted the way I did, didn’t just freak out. I’m glad I didn’t second-guess it in my head and let it go.”