CLEARWATER — A group of children played tag Friday on their Clearwater apartment complex lawn when a man asked a 7-year-old girl if she wanted to see his cat and two snakes. And would she like some ice cream?
Abdiel Negron, 10, watched the man pull the girl by her hand into his apartment at 1001 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. A few minutes later, Abdiel saw the girl banging on the man's upstairs window, screaming for help.
Clearwater police said Christopher Anthony Lorch, 21, locked the girl inside a bedroom, and also lured a 9-year-old boy into the house, too. The boy ran outside screaming for help, police said, and Abdiel ran for the complex security guard.
Soon after, the girl broke free from the Lorch's home, Abdiel said. She raced into Abdiel's mother's apartment, a few doors down.
"I said, 'Honey, what happened?' And then she just ran away," Zuleika Rodriguez, 29, said.
Abdiel told the security guard about the incident and showed him where the man lived. The police showed up.
Authorities arrested Lorch, and charged him with one count of false imprisonment and two counts of luring and enticing a child. He remained in the Pinellas County Jail on Saturday in lieu of $55,000 bail.