On Thursday, September 29, Thornton Police Department charged Diego Gettler with second-degree kidnapping for the attempted abduction of a young girl outside the STEM Launch K-8 school in Thornton on Friday morning.
According to a police affidavit, the 28-year-old Colorado man targeted a 10-year-old schoolgirl who was sitting on the steps outside her school at around 7:30 am on September 23. He approached her and allegedly tried to grab her.
Surveillance footage obtained by the police showed Diego Gettler parking a damaged gray Saturn Aura near the school before the attempted abduction. Further footage saw him running back to his car and getting in the passenger side door before escaping the scene.
On September 24, the Thornton Police Department released surveillance footage pictures of the suspect. In a press release, they said:
"The subject is described as a 5'8", thin male. The male was wearing black pants, black gloves, black shoes with white soles, and a black Adidas hoodie with three distinct Adidas logos on the back."
The surveillance footage and pictures released by the police seemed all too familiar to Diego Gettler's parents, who realized that the suspect could be their own son. On September 26, they informed the Thornton PD of their suspicions.
According to the arrest affidavit:
"[His parents] stated Diego owns and operates a gray Saturn Aura which has damage on the driver side caused by an earlier car accident. [His parents] further confirmed Diego has to enter the vehicle from the passenger side."
Investigations revealed that Diego Gettler's cell phone was in the vicinity at the time of the incident.
He was arrested on September 26 in Parker, Colorado, and is set to appear in court on October 5.
Diego Gettler charged with second-degree kidnapping as young girl accuses him of trying to "grab" her
At around 7:30 am on September 23, a student at the STEM Launch K-8 school was sitting on the steps outside her school when she was approached by a masked Diego Gettler. According to an arrest affidavit obtained by People, the girl alleged that Gettler approached her after her mother dropped her off and asked her if she was a student at the school.
The victim, 10, said that he made her feel "uncomfortable" by following her around. The arrest affidavit alleged:
"The male made her feel uncomfortable, so she stood up as he was walking back down the stairs. The male grabbed [her] at this point, in a manner she described as him wrapping his hands and arms around her waist from behind."
The young child started screaming for help after Gettler grabbed her from behind, and at this point, he had covered her mouth with his hands. It was only when the terrified girl pulled down his face mask that he backed off. "Spooked," he ran to his car and drove away.
Days later, Diego Gettler was arrested after his parents confirmed that it was him in the surveillance camera pictures.