PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman is facing multiple charges after allegedly trying to kidnap a 6-year-old boy, threatening his family with weapons and using racial slurs in downtown Portland on Sunday.
The attempted kidnapping happened at SW 3rd Avenue and West Burnside Street just before 4 p.m., the Portland Police Bureau said.
The family was reportedly waiting in line outside of a restaurant when the suspect approached them and tried to lunge at the boy, saying she wanted to take him. The family tried to back away but the woman then threatened the family with bladed weapons and used racial slurs before running off, police said.
The family, who were visiting from Tacoma, told KOIN 6 News they noticed the suspect following them as they stood in line for pizza. They said she started using racial slurs and accusing them of stealing her child.
“She’s like ‘that’s my child, give me my kid back, I will kill you guys if you don’t give me the kid’ and that’s when she was swinging that machete around,” said Shanay Grant. “I don’t know if it was racially motivated or if it was a mental illness but she was sure that we had her child and it was not our child and she wanted to get him back.”
Bystanders helped to keep the suspect away from the family while they waited for the police.
Responding officers found and arrested 37-year-old Elizabeth A. Zurcher-Wood just a few blocks away and recovered a machete and an ax, which she was carrying.
Zurcher-Wood was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on multiple charges, including second-degree kidnapping, three counts of second-degree bias crime, unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree disorderly conduct and menacing. Court records indicated Zurcher-Wood has a history of mental illness.
“Baby boy is pretty traumatized. He’s acting like she’s going to come back and get him and we just keep reassuring him she’s not going to do that to anybody else,” said Grant.