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Statement: Woman Tried to Kidnap 5-Year-Old After School

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A woman has been arrested in connection with an attempted kidnapping — a state felony — that occurred in April, according to Travis County court documents filed Monday.

An arrest warrant affidavit says an investigator with the Austin Police Department’s Child Abuse Unit investigated the incident.


Investigators determined that on April 16, after a 911 call was made to police, a woman was physically assaulting, grabbing and dragging children near the northbound Interstate 35 service road and E. Rundburg Lane.

Police arrived and detained a woman matching the suspect’s description. The woman was later identified as 43-year-old Penny Vega.

Photo by Penny Vega (Photo courtesy of APD)

KXAN has reached out to Vega’s attorney for a statement. This article will be updated if a statement is received.

According to the statement, three children were involved in the incident: a 5-year-old victim and two underage witnesses.

According to the victim’s mother, the child said the woman tried to kidnap him.

“(The victim) said the woman (Vega) told her she was her new mother and daughter,” the affidavit read.

The victim then testified that Vega began grabbing her legs while the victim’s siblings tried to stop her.

According to witness statements, the victim and two other children had just left school and were crossing the street toward a gas station when Vega approached to pick up the victim.

According to witness statements, during the incident, the child ran for help and two adults intervened to stop Vega from taking the child.

Surveillance footage confirmed the statements of the victim and two underage witnesses.

According to court documents, an investigator attempted to question Vega, but her attorney declined to be interviewed.

The statement said there was probable cause to believe Vega’s actions constituted “more than just preparation for the commission of a kidnapping offense” when she forcibly grabbed the victim and told her she would become her new mother, but did not commit a crime when others intervened.

Vega remained in Travis County Jail Wednesday on four charges and was held on bail totaling $32,500.

Vega has a court date scheduled for July 16 in connection with the incident. He is expected to appear.