by: Richard Elliot Updated:
Two weeks after a 9-year-old southwest Atlanta boy said he was abducted out of his front yard, a coalition of churches, civic organizations and businesses are offering a $10,000 reward to find his kidnapper.
Willie Myrick said he was in his front yard when he spotted money on the ground. As he went to pick it up, he said a black man in his 20s with a light complexion, long to medium dreadlocks and a tattoo on his bicep, snatched him and threw him into his silver or gray Honda Civic. Myrick said the man drove him around for several hours before releasing him unharmed in East Point.
Myrick spoke with Channel 2 Action News Tuesday with his godmother's permission.
"He was cursing at me," said Myrick. "It was just horrible."
That coalition held a news conference Monday afternoon to announce the $10,000 reward leading to an arrest and conviction of the alleged kidnapper. Michael Langford said they're worried about the rash of attempted child abductions reported all over metro Atlanta.
"Our concern is not just the city of Atlanta boundaries," said Langford. "It's the society in general. It's metro Atlanta. We've seen a number of attacks."
Langford recalled the Atlanta missing and murdered children cases of 1979-80. He led some of the searches for the victims. He said he wants to get law enforcement and neighborhoods on board before summer so something like that won't happen again.
"We're going to knock on some doors. We're going to put out fliers and posters," said Langford. "We want to say to folk, if you harm our children, not only will the police be looking for you, the community will be on your trail, too."
Community Activist Derek Boazman announced a town hall meeting for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church on Campbellton Road.
"We're just about into the summer months," said Boazman. "And we're concerned that in none of these cases, no one has been arrested."
Myrick's godmother, Coddetta Bateman, said she's been very worried about Willie's safety.
"I have been so worried," said Bateman. "My baby's not been able to go outdoors and play. He literally just been in the house all the time. I take him back and forth to school. I don't let him go nowhere."
Atlanta police said they were still actively investigating the case.