SPOKANE, Wash. — The snap of a finger is how fast Lindsey Ehlenbach said it took when a man tried to snatch her daughter.
"He was a 47-year-old man... by himself... waiting outside restrooms,” Ehlenbach said.
Girl's mom will be talking me at 10/11 on @KREM2. She says Edwards was following her throughout mall.Told me her "heart is in her stomach"— Ryan Simms (@KREMRyan) July 5, 2017
She came with her family to River Park Square on the Fourth of July to browse the stores.
"Didn't really have time to think about it,” Ehlenbach said. “I was shocked that someone would grab my daughter."
Ehlenbach said it started with a seemingly innocent comment from Ronald Edwards, the man who tried to snatch her daughter.
"He looked at me and my daughter and said 'beautiful smiles',” Ehlenbach said.
Then, a few minutes later, Ehlenbach took her two-year-old to the restroom. When they walked out, she said Edwards appeared out of nowhere and without warning.
"He reached down... and wrapped her up with his arm,” Ehlenbach said.
Ehlenbach said she does not remember what happened next but that Edwards apparently got spooked and walked away. Mall security got involved and police later arrested Edwards.
After police read him his rights, Edwards told the officer he grabbed the girl because he was stopping her from “running out into traffic,” according to court records.
A check of his record shows he has been in trouble with the law many times before. He was arrested for lewd conduct last year and was an inmate at Spokane County Jail. Edwards was accused of giving his cell mate drugs that had been smuggled into the jail. That cell mate overdosed, died and Edwards faced manslaughter charges.
Now, he is back in jail facing a charge of imprisonment.
Ehlenbach's husband, Brian, said he observed Edwards earlier in the day harassing other women at the mall.
Witnesses say Edwards wagged his tongue toward several people at Riverfront Square. Told the girl and her mom they had "beautiful smiles"— Ryan Simms (@KREMRyan) July 6, 2017
"It didn't look like he was striking up friendly conversations," Ehlenbach's husband said.
Neither Ehlenbach or her daughter were hurt in this incident.
"They would've had to pull me off of him," Brian said. "Nobody messes with my princess."