CLEVELAND — The father of a man charged in two child kidnapping cases that sent fear through northeast Ohio says his family is stunned.
Jimmy Christian said he never saw that side of his son, but he had suspicions after seeing video released by investigators, according to WJW.
Justin Christian has been indicted for allegedly kidnapping and raping a 6-year-old Cleveland girl and trying to kidnap an Elyria girl.
His dad told WJW that he can’t understand how his son could have done what he’s accused of, and said he understands the pain of the families of the victims.
“I talked to him. I don’t know what happened. This is devastating to our family,” Christian said. “These are somebody’s children. He went to somebody’s house. It’s crazy.”
He also said he had questions for his son after first seeing security video police put out as they tried to identify a suspect. “I said, ‘Justin, this could be you.’ But then I thought, that’s not in my son’s character … and then that conversation never happened again,” according to Christian.
Christian also noticed that pictures of the suspect’s car, showed a vehicle similar to a car given to Justin after his brother died of a heroin overdose.
An Elyria police supervisor told WJW that officers had been surveilling Justin at his home before they arrested him Friday after pulling him over as he drove away from the house.
Many in the community are breathing a sigh of relief, including the father of the little girl who was almost kidnapped in the botched attempt. He told the station he finally had his first good night’s sleep in a long time.
Stranger abductions – while terrifying – are rare, according to the FBI.
Justin Christian had no prior sex offense arrests, he did have prior cases for marijuana and having brass knuckles as a concealed weapon. Investigators used a new DNA technique involving family members to gather evidence against Christian.
At least one of those family members, brother JJ Christian, isn’t convinced. “Either way. How do you know this is accurate? … It’s not my brother,” JJ said.
Investigators believe Justin Christian also may have been communicating online with someone at one of the homes of the victims, according to WJW.
In the end, Christian’s father is torn between defending his son and feeling compassion for the victims. He said, “We’re all shocked.” He added, “Somebody took my daughter, I’d be upset. Not only upset, but devastated.”