5-year-old boy abducted from Harrisburg last weekend is back home safe

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HARRISBURG — A 5-year-old Harrisburg child that was abducted from his home last Saturday has been returned home, safe and unharmed, the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office reported today.

Harrisburg police say the boy was playing outside his home when he was lured into a car driven by Willard Thomas, who is alleged to be the boy’s father, though no paternity has ever been established. The boy’s mother is deceased, and he’s being raised by his grandmother, who has full and exclusive legal custody of the child.

After the child’s abduction, the boy’s grandmother contacted Thomas via text message. Thomas promised to return the child. But when he did not bring the boy back by Monday, the boy’s grandmother contacted Harrisburg Police Det. Paula Trovy.

Working with members of the Dauphin County Child Abduction Recovery Effort and the U.S. Marshals Service, Trovy tracked Thomas down in South Carolina. U.S. Marshals located and arrested Thomas for kidnapping the child on Tuesday morning. The child was safe and unharmed, and is now back with his grandmother.

Thomas is awaiting extradition from South Carolina to face kidnapping and other charges in Pennsylvania.