Man abducts 2-year-old boy, pretending to be his father


Police in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, said Friday they have arrested a 30-year-old man on a charge of abducting a 2-year-old boy in a shopping mall.

According to police, the suspect, identified as Hidetoshi Ota, approached the boy who had gotten separated from his parents in a store at around noon on Thursday and told him he was his father. TBS reported that he led the child out of the store.

When the child's parents could not find him, they called police and mall security personnel. TBS quoted an officer as saying that Ota and the child were found still inside the mall about an hour later.

Ota was quoted by police as saying, "I've always wanted children; that's why I took the boy."

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"When the child’s parents could not find him" means they weren't paying attention to him and he wandered off. They were probably scrambling for "lucky bags". Just plain bad parenting. Thanks to the police, this ended well.

-9 ( +12 / -21 )

No sensei258, it doesn't mean that they are bad parents. Two year old kids wander off suddenly; it happens to parents everywhere all the time.

They wander off around a corner or into the next aisle in a matter of seconds. I'd like to hear from anyparent that this has not happened to.

It doesn't necessarily mean "They were probably scrambling for "lucky bags". Just plain bad parenting."

8 ( +14 / -6 )

The fact that that both parents allowed a 2 year old to wander off at all means they were not paying attention, whatever the reason. Do I know they were scrambling for lucky bags, of course not. But whatever they were doing it could not have been important as the safety of their child.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

I remember wandering off when I was a kid, it happens with kids. Good thing they caught the guy.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Thanks to the police, this ended well.

Probably more thanks to the fact that the guy never left the shopping mall.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sensei258 is obviously not a parent and doesn't realise when you are trying to do something in a shopping centre, that kids often run off when you tell them a thousand times to 'stay here'. Just one example when I'm doing my grocery shopping and I'm getting things onto the conveyer belt then my child decides to run off - that is not bad parenting which can be an opportunity for someone to grab him.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I have raised children AND grandchildren, so you are incorrect. Are some posters here suggesting that its too difficult for two grown people to watch their toddler? I never called them "bad parents", I'm sure they love their child. It was bad parenting AKA carelessness that almost cost them their son.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

Claudette, I have a couple of young kids myself, and I would never, ever tell my child (whether 2 or 10) to "stay here" by themselves while I went shopping. I would take them with me, because I am their parent, and its my job to look after them. If a 2 year old is a "runner" then invest in a baby car or a pair of reigns. There is absolutely no excuse for "losing" your child.

This is a couple of full grown adults, who for whatever reason, were too distracted to watch their own toddler. Its pretty embarrassing at best, negligent at worst. And Im going to guess they didn't even notice he was gone until a half hour later.

These parents are very very lucky this man was the "I wanted to play with a child" variety and not something much more sinister.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Always hold hands with your children until they're around four or five, if not always keep an eye on them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I love the pundits who have no clue of the actual details, yet feel confident enough to judge the parents as bad parents.

I used to watch my kid like a hawk at that age, and I can remember paying at the till, and my boy suddenly running away while I was half-way through paying. Do you run away from the till, leaving the whole line of people waiting for you while you go track down your kid, or do you take the 30 seconds to finish paying, and go get your kid who is going to be alright 99999 times out of 100,000? And this isn't the only situation where this happens.

Anyone who claims this is bad parenting would almost definitely be a bad parent themselves, as they would be a helicopter parent, and that type of parenting raises kids who don't know how to take care of themselves.

Judge not lest ye be judged yourself.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Judging by the article, it would seem it is a case of bad parenting. If the kid ran away for a second and was swiped before the parents could get to him, maybe the parents could be excused. But the abductor had time to tell the boy he was his father and lead him out of the store. He also seemed to be in no hurry since he was still in the mall an hour later.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Are some posters here suggesting that its too difficult for two grown people to watch their toddler? I never called them "bad parents", I'm sure they love their child. It was bad parenting AKA carelessness that almost cost them their son.

It does not say anywhere in the article that the child "wandered" off. It says "got separated". Most 2 year olds get to the stage that they want to walk on their own. They don't want have their hand held, be carried or strapped in a cart/stroller for 3-4 hours in a shopping mall. They want to have the experience like other people of being able to move.

While I do agree that there are a lot of Japanese parents who are too loose with their children and let them run all over the place without a care in the World. This article is not detailed enough to give a conclusion on parenting skills.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I was fully engaged with my 2 year-old, playing in a shopping centre here when he suddenly disappeared.

Most chillingly, no-one cared. In many countries we would quickly have had a small team of volunteer searchers, but not here.

Japan can be a very cold, lonely and (judging by some posts here as well) unforgiving place.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I would have NEVER left a 2-year old unattented in the first place...FAIL to the parents

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Come on, this is pretty lax parenting. 2 adults can't keep track of onekid? All parents know kids that age can be pretty quick and that's precisely why you have to have your eyes on them all the time.

Obvious nut case in the works here. The fact that he didn't leave the mall shows that he didn't know what the hell he was doing. In this case, that was the better choice but it's still scary there are loons like him around.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

For somebody who says "Judge not lest ye be judged yourself." That's exactly what you did with this blanket statement "Anyone who claims this is bad parenting would almost definitely be a bad parent themselves". So everyone in the world who disagrees with your idea of parenting is a bad parent? So are you saying that it was good parenting? Or that a two year old knows how to take care of himself? Or that your cart full of groceries, or that frown on the person behind you in line is more important?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

it is possible that the dad is looking at something else while the mom is looking after the kid and got distracted. The info never said both parents were together watching the kid when he vanished. There's a lot of scenario. But yes, here we go again with the superparents who can do everything at the same time. Can you come take care of my boy?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So everyone in the world who disagrees with your idea of parenting is a bad parent?

As I said, helicopter parents are bad parents. And I'm ok with being judged. Anyone who isn't shouldn't express strong opinions.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Readers, please stop bickering.

A normal 2-year-old knows perfectly well who his father is. Something odd here.

As for the good-parent/bad-parent row - unless you've been a parent in charge of a toddler (and maybe another kid or two, do we know?) and gone through the keep-an-eye-on-everyone-and-do-the-shopping-and-carry-multiple-bags-and-juggle-five-other-things-at-the-same-time-in-a crowded-shop, you really don't know. Yes maybe the kiddie should have been strapped into his buggy/on a harness-and-lead/in a baby carrier on Dad's back, but we don't know what else was going on. I'm not ready to throw any stones until I know more.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

End-of-the-year and/or beginning-of-the-year shopping can be quite an adventure... Crowds everywhere and it's pretty well impossible to notice if people happen to come between you and your child, there's a BIG difference in size between a two-year old and a bunch of adults. At least they didn't leave him "home alone"...

I got lost once when I was about that age but I never, ever thought it was because of "bad parenting"... I had the most marvellous parents in the world but they were by no means "Superman".

I have to agree, however, about those brats that are allowed to run around on their own anywhere and everywhere. I can remember shouting out to one mother, in a hospital waiting hall, to tell her kid - who was running wild and screaming at the top of his lungs - to keep quiet or take him out. Actually there was no-one near him but the sound of my voice showed a smiling woman who had been "admiring" the antics of her offspring. THAT is what is known as bad parenting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cleo and FightingViking, well said.

I'm sure two years' memories of rearing their beloved child flashed in front of these terrified parents' eyes before they got their child back.

It's sad that a communitarian society has lost the village infrastructure, forcing some of the worst individualistic behaviour.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I never let my kids out of my sight, especially in shopping centers and this is the reason why. Yeah, they may run off, but you go and get them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I dont know who is at fault here without knowing the details of what happened, but I do know something to that sheer terror when you realize your child is missing. Like the time at the zoo when I left my 4 year old with her grandmother to take her brother to see an animal a little way away. Grandmother let her go to me because she wanted to, but didnt watch her to check she had arrived with me safely. She couldnt find me and wandered out of the area. She was gone about 10 minutes before I found her but during that time I was borderline hysterical. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I am so glad the parents found him safe and sound.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Japanese version (Yahoo news and others) says that the boy and his family got separated and the boy was taken to the service counter. A lost child announcement was made in the store and this man thought it an opportunity to kidnap a child. He told the service counter employee (not the child) that he was the child's father, and because the child didn't resist but went with him, they didn't think it suspicious. The real parents ran up to the desk minutes later and they store employees realized their mistake.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Glad the boy is safely back with his parents, but this is still bad news. Just the other day I tried to console a crying kid lost in the store, and its already a bit odd for Japanese to witness a white male trying to help a crying kid in the store. News like this makes it that much harder to be a good samaritan.

But yeah, its true, I did not jump out instantly to help the crying child. I gave others plenty of time to respond, but it was only me in the end and not even store staff. And almost as soon as I did respond the parents came without a single word of gratitude or apology or any form of acknowledgement to me whatsoever.

This country is quite cold in many ways. It has many praises as well, but human warmth is certainly not one of them.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

it wasn't the service counters fault though - the parents should have been watching their child properly, and this would never have happened.

I wonder what would have happened, if the man had taken the kid home with him. How scary.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Aside of whether the parents were negligent or not (small children will run off, but remember the days when kindhearted strangers kept an eye on them?), I think that these kinds of crimes are going to become more common as the birthrate gets lower. In my home country there have been several cases of infants or small children being abducted by childless, mentally unstable women who really didn't mean any harm, but only wanted a child of their own to care for. It seems to be extremely unusual for males to do this sort of thing though, at least without any ulterior motives. What an odd thing to do.

0 ( +1 / -1 ) run off. And since most of us know this then what are parents doing about it? My youngest was a runner so I used a harness with her. It allowed her the freedom to walk on her own within 3 feet of mommy or daddy. It may not be popular but I can say that I have never ever lost any of my children. I see so many posting that kids are quick and they just run off. So let's not blame the parents and blame the child instead? Who exactly is accountable for the childs safety? Being proactive in your childrens safety is the difference between tucking your child in bed each night or becoming another tragic report in the news.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can't believe some defending the parents. I won't go as far and call them bad parents, but c'mon....!?!?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Bottom line is it is a bad case of parenting. All you have to do is honestly keep focused on your child...and you won't loose them.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

it wasn't the service counters fault though - the parents should have been watching their child properly, and this would never have happened.

Yes and no. First of all, ITS ALWAYS the parents' responsibility to make sure that their kids are safe and don't just wander away. What if the abductor was successful? Do you think that "oh I was too busy to notice he was gone" is a good excuse to justify another potential child molestation or murder? Hold the kid's fricken hand for pete sakes; its not that hard. I have a six year old daughter and I ALWAYS hold her had in crowded places so that she doesn't sucked into the crowd and lost. These stupid parents were VERY lucky and they should count their lucky stars that they got there in time for him.

Secondly, although the store can't be held 100% responsible, this store needs to rethink their verification process if they are going to accept the responsibility of holding and returning lost kids. If they can't handle it, they should at least call security or the police and let them handle it. A two year is not sophisticated enough to know that a stranger can hurt him, and will willingly go off with them with very little encouragement. AT THE VERY LEAST. the store should have security cameras for one thing, and the store should ask the child, is this your dad, or so you know this person. He should be old enough to be able to answer that. If the kid can't answer, then ask the person to produce picture or ASK WHAT THE NAME OF THE CHILD IS...EASY! Lack of common sense is really outrages sometimes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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