Police: ‘Amazing little girl’ fights off kidnapper, leads officers to him

Dennis Willmore

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — A courageous young girl fights off a would-be kidnapper, and leads police right to him.  It all happened in a Wheat Ridge neighborhood at 3:00 Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators say the 10-year-old girl was walking her dog near an alley at 29th Avenue and Chase Street when a man grabbed her by the throat and face and began dragging her into the alley. What she did next may have saved her life.

“The young girl was able to scream and fight her way out of the suspect’s grasp with only minor injuries,” Wheat Ridge police spokesman John Romero says. “Not only did she fight off her attacker but her dog bit him as well and that was part of the reason she was able to get away.”

Officers found the suspect, 35-year-old Dennis James Willmore Jr. in his house nearby and took him into custody.

Brenda Barels, a neighbor, had a sinking feeling when she saw police arrive. “When I came out and I saw the officer in their yard I just … I knew it was something with the guy.”

Wheat Ridge police say Willmore is a registered sex offender convicted in 2000 for 2nd degree kidnapping and sexual assault on a child. Barels says he’d been keeping a low profile while living with his parents.

Police say the girl gave them an exact description of her attacker and led them directly to the home he ran to … saying she is THE reason Willmore is under arrest.

“From yelling and struggling to fighting back. And then, not only that, but to tell us where he went, what he looked like, what he was wearing … for what she had to go through she was an amazing little girl,” Romero says.

Willmore was in jail Wednesday night facing charges of 2nd Degree Kidnapping and 2nd Degree Assault.