In a miraculous incident narrated to a Massachusetts court, a seven-year-old girl survived a kidnap and murder attempt on Sunday (27 August).
The alleged kidnapper, Joshua Hubert, first tried to choke the girl and then threw her off a bridge into a lake, the court was told.
Police suspect the girl was thrown from the Interstate 290 bridge — connecting Worcester and Shrewsbury — into Lake Quinsigamond. A Worcester boy, 19, who died after jumping off the same bridge in 2012, was believed to have fallen 45 feet.
The girl, who swam to the shore and managed to reach a house in Shrewsbury for help, was currently undergoing treatment for "visible, but not life threatening injuries", Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Junior was quoted by NBC News as saying.
Hubert allegedly abducted the girl from her grandparents' Worcester home in the early hours of Sunday. He was present at the house as a guest. In the middle of the night, he allegedly grabbed the girl, who was sleeping on a couch, and put her in his car.
Hubert then drove around with her for an hour, a spokesman for the district attorney's office said. The spokesman added that at one point, Hubert stopped the car to choke the girl, but later he threw her off the bridge.
"A woman from Shrewsbury was awoken by knocks at her door and found the 7-year-old victim standing at her door in pajamas soaking wet," Worcester County Assistant Prosecutor Cheryl Riddle reportedly said at Hubert's arraignment, who is due in court again on Thursday (31 August).
"Fortunately, a greater tragedy was averted. The young victim had the strength to make it to shore and get help," Early said of the incident. "I want to thank the resident who answered the door and helped the girl."
Hubert entered a not guilty plea in the court. He is likely to face more charges during Thursday's court proceedings.