Watch CBS News

Man Arrested In Kidnapping Of One-Year-Old In Valrico

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - A man charged with allegedly kidnapping a one-year-old back in February is now behind bars.

Credit: HCSO | CW44 News At 10

Officials say 26-year-old Rashad Mann allegedly stole a family's car with a baby named Tinnley West inside. Mann's criminal history spans over 20 years with 18 felony arrests.

Hillsborough County Sheriff, Chad Chronister, says "Baby Tinnley's family can finally find some comfort knowing that Rashad Mann, the individual who has created nightmares for this family is behind bars."

It all happened on February 16th in Valrico Florida. It was a day the family of one-year-old Tinnley West will never forget. "Tinnley was kidnapped after the vehicle she was sleeping in was stolen from her grandparent's drive way in Valrico. She was left in that vehicle for less than a minute as her mother was unloading groceries," said Chronister.

Deputies issued an amber alert and posted surveillance video of who officials say they later identified as Rashad Mann. Body cam video shows baby Tinnley being found in the car two hours later in a nearby church parking lot, unharmed. Mann was gone. Chronister described at a press conference, "Earlier this month, we identified a pattern of daytime burglaries in eastern Hillsborough County and as detectives analyzed evidence and through the course of their investigation, they identified a vehicle of interest."

Officials say they arrested two people inside that car: Mann and 24-year-old Anthony Gaskin. One officer recognized Mann from the kidnapping. "This investigation came into play when the DNA recovered from the kidnapping vehicle was confirmed as a match," said Chronister.

Tinnley's family says they are glad their baby is safe. Chelsea Noriega, mother of Tinnley, says "It could have gone a lot of different ways and that's something I'm going to have to live with but I just want to thank everyone for keeping an eye out."

Credit: HCSO | CW44 News At 10

Tinnley's father, Jon West remarked of the brazen thief, "He's put away and he's going to do his time in jail. What he deserves and that's probably a better outcome than what I would have done to him."

While Sheriff Chronister is thankful Mann is behind bars, he made a visit to the suspect in jail Wednesday morning, sharing, "I did get a moment just to thank him. Thank him on behalf of the family, thank him on behalf of a grateful office and community for pulling that van behind a church in a handicapped spot knowing that we would eventually locate baby Tinnley."

Sheriff Chronister says he is making a plea to the state attorney to keep Mann in jail and to keep him from committing any more crimes. He facing charges of kidnapping, grand theft, child abuse, and burglary among others.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.