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2-Year-Old Boy Was Kidnapped When This Woman Stole a Mom’s SUV with Toddler Inside, Authorities Say

Image of Luoung 'Tammy' Huynh next to surveillance footage purportedly showing her.

Image of Luoung ‘Tammy’ Huynh next to surveillance footage purportedly showing her.

California law enforcement put out an AMBER Alert over the weekend that ended with the child found safe and his alleged abductor in custody.

Luong “Tammy” Huynh, 29, kidnapped Jacob Jardine, 2, early Sunday morning, police said. She stole his mother’s 2008 Buick Enclave while the boy was inside, officers said. The mother was unloading groceries to their room at a motel.

Police said she claimed she had been at the motel visiting someone, and she took the SUV after abruptly deciding to leave, authorities reportedly said.

“At 3:51 am officers responded to the 500 block of north mathilda avenue on report of a child abduction/vehicle theft,” wrote officials. “Upon arrival, officers discovered that Jacob Jardin[e] had been taken when his mother’s car was stolen while she was unloading groceries. Jacob was inside the car.”

Officials announced later Sunday that they were looking for Huynh.

“We believe Tammy may have information that will help us locate Jacob Jardine,” they said.

Authorities did not get into detail about why beyond saying that Huynh might have important information.

“We had strong suspicions she might be involved, but we didn’t have actual video of her getting into the car and taking off,” Sunnyvale Capt. Craig Anderson told The East Bay Times on Monday.

Jacob’s mother Melissa Jardine said that the abduction happened quickly.

“Before I even got out of my room, I heard a car squeal, and as I came out here, he was gone, the car was gone, everybody was gone,” she said Sunday.

The boy finally turned up safe.

Anderson told the Times that investigators found more footage of Huynh in and around the car.

“At approximately 8:30 pm Tammy returned to her residence on Florence Avenue in San Jose where she was detained by San Jose Police Officers,” officers said. “Sunnyvale officers responded and placed Tammy under arrest for kidnapping (CA penal code section 207), child endangerment (CA penal code section 273a) and vehicle theft (CA vehicle code section 10851). Tammy is currently being held at the Santa Clara County Main Jail.”

Huynh allegedly told detectives she had been visiting a person at the motel, and she abruptly decided to go. In this account, she found the running SUV unattended, drove to a place on Oakmead Parkway, slept in the SUV, then abandoned it and Jardine. It is unclear why Huynh suddenly decided to leave the motel in the first place.

“She claims she didn’t know there was a baby in there,” Anderson told Law&Crime in a brief phone interview.

In explaining the child endangerment charge, he said Huynh had many options to make sure Jacob was safe. For example, she could have made an anonymous tip, or dropped him off and fled. Instead, she put him at risk by abandoning him in the vehicle, the captain said.

“There’s a million different things she could have done to make sure Jacob was cared for and not abandoned,” Anderson said.

Update – 6:13 p.m.: We added more information from Anderson.

[Image via Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety]

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