Clayton County

Police: Parents fight off woman trying to kidnap kids at Atlanta airport (VIDEO)

ATLANTA — Atlanta police are praising the person who jumped in to prevent a kidnapping at Atlanta’s airport.

According to police, Esther Daniels, 26, of Kansas, tried to grab two kids before being fended off by the children’s parents early Saturday morning.

The dramatic surveillance video from inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport shows Daniels grabbing a stroller with a child in it. When the mother fought her off, Daniels tried to snatch one of the family’s other children. That’s when the father stepped in.

[CLICK HERE to watch the entire video]

An Atlanta police traffic control officer saw what was happening and raced across the airport atrium to break up the attempted kidnapping.

“She deserves all the praise,” Atlanta police spokeswoman Tashena Brown said. “Especially for her to have been working, really, in a civilian capacity, for her to just to jump in right away with no hesitation is amazing."


That officer held Daniels until backup arrived and took her down.

“Her behavior was very erratic, but we can’t really speak on what her mental state was, but we can agree that what she did was very erratic and odd, to say the least,” Brown said.

The video also shows police struggling to subdue Daniels and keeping hold of her as they lead her away.

“That’s why we go through our training and make sure, of course, we’re able to get that person in custody, hopefully without any injuries or anything like that, but they had to do what they needed to do in order to subdue her to put her into custody,” Brown said.

It took three officers to get the woman under control, and she was eventually put in a wheelchair to be escorted to the airport police precinct. The children were not injured, police said.

The family was on its way Disney World when the attack happened.

Daniels was checked out at Grady Memorial Hospital before being arrested on charges of kidnapping and obstructing an officer. She is being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail.

Daniels is scheduled to appear before a Clayton County judge for a preliminary hearing July 11.

Our investigative partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and contributed to this report.