Diego James Gettler, 28, was charged with second-degree kidnapping on Thursday after he allegedly grabbed the girl outside of the STEM Launch K-8 school in Thornton just before the first bell around 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 23, according to the Thornton Police Department.
The young girl told police she had just been dropped off at school that morning by her mother and was sitting on the school steps when Gettler approached her and asked her if she attended the school, according to the arrest affidavit, obtained by People.
Gettler allegedly walked behind her and then up the steps she was sitting on before turning around, the girl told police.
“The male made her feel uncomfortable, so she stood up as he was walking back down the stairs,” the affidavit says. “The male grabbed [her] at this point, in a manner she described as him wrapping his hands and arms around her waist from behind.”
*UPDATE* Thornton PD continues to investigate the Att. Child Abduction at STEM Launch. Additional pics of the suspect & the vehicle he left in, an ‘06-‘09 Saturn Aura, gray, with damage to drivers side fender & door that likely prevent the door from opening. 1 of 2 pic.twitter.com/fxuPXCAIr8— Thornton Police Dept (@ThorntonPolice) September 24, 2022
When the girl screamed, Gettler covered her mouth with his hands, according to the arresting document.
She fought back, and pulled down Gettler’s face mask which investigators said “spooked” him and caused him to run away.
Surveillance footage obtained by police allegedly showed Gettler parking a damaged gray Saturn Aura near the school before trying to abduct the girl. Footage later shows him running back to his car and getting in the passenger side door before driving off.
Later the same day, police released images from the footage allegedly showing Gettler and his car.
On Sept. 26, Gettler’s parents went to the Thornton police station and told detectives they believed the suspect was their son “based on photographs from the surveillance that was released, as well as his vehicle matching the unique characteristics of the suspect vehicle in this case,” the affidavit states.
“[His parents] stated Diego owns and operates a gray Saturn Aura which has damage on the driver side” caused by an earlier car accident,” the affidavit says. “[His parents] further confirmed Diego has to enter the vehicle from the passenger side.”
Detectives determined that Gettler’s cellphone was also in the area at the time of the attempted abduction.
He was arrested on Sept. 26 outside of a Home Depot in Parker and was booked at the Adams County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 5, People reported.