November 5, 2013

Police: Father tries taking girl through fake cop

Rachel Brown

— A 3-year-old girl is back with her mother after authorities said a man impersonating a police officer tried to take her from her home Sunday.

Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Rick Swiney said a man who said he is the girl’s father but lacks legal custody of her got another man to go with him to the child’s home, pose as a police officer and take the girl.

The man believed to be the father, Hilario Benjamin Gonzalez, 29, 423 Claude St., Dalton, was charged Monday by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with criminal trespass, felony failure to appear, obstruction of an officer by threat or violence, willful obstruction of law officers and kidnapping a minor.

Alfredo Guadalupe Mendez-Canales, 54, 321 Trails End Way, Dalton, was charged Monday by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with impersonating a public officer or employee, kidnapping a minor and criminal trespass.

Swiney said both men had been drinking when they tried to drive off with the girl. Yet someone had called authorities, he said, and a sheriff’s deputy arrived in time to block the Honda Odyssey from leaving.

According to an incident report, when a deputy asked the men for identification, Mendez-Canales produced a driver’s license, but Gonzalez began to run and an officer tasered him when he wouldn’t stop.

“I approached (Gonzalez) as he rolled over, at which time he punched me with his fist, striking me in the left side of my face,” Deputy C.R. Meadors wrote in his report. “I then struck (him) several times with my fist around and about his face, until Deputy Bishop arrived to assist.”

The report states Gonzalez was still fighting and was tasered a second time before the officers were able to handcuff him.

Swiney said Mendez-Canales was dressed in black clothes with no markings, but he told the man who answered the door at the child’s home that he was a police officer. Both he and Gonzalez went inside without being invited in, Swiney said.

Both Gonzalez and Mendez-Canales remained in the Whitfield County jail without bond Monday afternoon. They are scheduled to appear in Whitfield County Superior Court for a bond hearing on Friday.