A 35-year-old woman has been arrested for allegedly trying to abduct a 2-year-old boy from a Central Park playground in front of his nanny one morning last week, authorities said.
Cecile Jackson faces one count of second-degree attempted kidnapping, police said Wednesday. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation, police said. No recent residential area for her was listed by police, and it wasn't clear if she had an attorney.
Police said Jackson allegedly approached a boy on a swing at Heckscher playground Tuesday, May 12. As the 2-year-old boy's 27-year-old nanny stood next to him, pushing his brother on an adjacent swing, Jackson allegedly picked up the toddler and tried to leave the park.
The nanny stopped the woman and took the boy from her arms, police have said. The woman, allegedly Jackson, then fled the park.
No one was hurt, according to police.
Police said another mother recognized Jackson from the police sketch released last week, and she flagged police at Central Park Tuesday as Jackson was allegedly trying to entice another child into her arms.
The kidnapping attempt jarred parents who often take their own children to the park's playground.
Nasthasja Gregoire of Bushwick, Brooklyn, who takes her 4-year-old daughter there, said her heart "just stopped" when she heard the news.
"That's really bold, especially the nanny's right there," she said.
For the past week, nannies and parents used social media and blogs to alert each other to the potential danger while keeping a closer eye on their kids. News of the arrest Wednesday has brought some relief.
"It definitely gives peace of mind, and to know that people aren't going to be scared of taking their kids to playgrounds," said Aaron Grunfeld of Morningside Heights.