By Diana Rocco
UPPER DARBY, Pa., (CBS) – It’s hard for Natalie Holness to think about what might have happened after a man allegedly tried to grab three-year-old Samantha just feet from her home.
“I just freaked holding her, she was crying, I couldn’t believe someone is trying to take my child,” said Holness.
The family was walking home from the playground Tuesday night. Police say 27-year-old Daniel Johnson came up behind them and allegedly grabbed Samantha’s arm and tried to run away with her.
“I jumped on this guy and punched him in the face, and said to her, ‘don’t let the baby go,’” said father Pierre Paul.
Samantha’s dad fought Johnson off twice, but he kept coming back.
“The only thing I could do was hold her. I was like God, please let this man walk away, but he’s not letting go. He’s hitting him and it’s not fazing him. When he fell, I was in the middle of the street and he’s still looking at us like he’s coming after her,” said Holness.
Police believe Johnson was high on drugs. A few minutes later, they found him rolling around in the grass naked near the Cobbs Creek bridge. He had thrown his clothes over the side.
“Who knows what could have happened to the child. He threw his clothes off the bridge, what would he have done to the child? Mom and dad fought for their child and they won,” said Superintendent Michael Chitwood of the Upper Darby Police Department.
These parents now relieved Johnson is police custody and that Samantha’s dad was there to defend his family.
“That’s my life, that’s my daughter,” said Paul.
“I’m thankful to God that she’s okay, but it’s still playing over in my mind,” said her mother.