The convicted sex offender accused of luring the young daughter of a family friend out of her bedroom window was arraigned Tuesday morning in Syracuse City Court.
According to Syracuse Police, around 2:15 Monday morning officers responded to a complaint of a missing person on the south side of the city. Police spoke to the mother of a missing nine-year-old girl, who told the officers her daughter was not in her room at 2:00 a.m. after going to bed at 9:00 the night before. The mother says she called 911 after noticing that the bedroom and screen window were open.
During their investigation, police found that an acquaintance of the family had visited earlier Sunday evening. That individual was identified as 54-year-old Thomas Lee Baker of Edgewood Avenue in Syracuse, who is a registered level three sex offender.
The news is shocking to those who live in the neighborhood. " I t's scary when you have kids that go up and down the street to the park . It's a scary though t," said Gerald Boyer who lives in the neighborhood.
" Her parents, my heart goes out them because that's just so crazy ,' said Christine Flewellan. " It touched me that it was just right around the corner ."
" I t's kind of scary because sometimes I leave my kid s here ," said Ayen Ajak who has family who lives in the neighborhood. "Y ou never know what people are hiding. "
Police say they went to Baker TMs home and found him there, but he denied knowing where the girl was. Acting on a tip from witnesses who say they saw Baker with a young girl around 10:00 p.m., police entered Baker TMs home and found the girl in his bedroom.
Investigators credit the thorough police work for finding the girl so quickly. " I wouldn't even want to think about what could have happened ," said Syracuse Police Sgt. Gary Bulinski. "She was gone for such a short period of time that fortunately we were able to get her before something very serious and very bad happened ."
Police say Baker lured the victim out of her bedroom window and tricked her into leaving with him. She was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. No further details were given.
Baker has been charged with first degree attempted rape and second degree kidnapping. He was taken to the Onondaga County Justice Center pending arraignment Tuesday morning.
According to the state sex offender registry, Baker was convicted in 1991 of sexually abusing a 20-year-old woman. He was sentenced to 6-7 years in prison.
Baker is currently being held without bail. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on July 1st.