News

Abduction attempt thwarted by Black Diamond couple

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

A man asking explicit, sexual questions of two young girls was arrested by Black Diamond police, thanks to a city couple's willingness to get involved.

Lorianne and Tom Taff are heroes, according to Commander Chris Hurst of the Black Diamond Police Department. If not for their intuition and subsequent bravery, a scary situation could have turned disastrous. "It was one of those events that turn into a parent's worst nightmare," Hurst said. "There's no question in my mind a more serious crime was stopped."

The situation unfolded around 9 p.m., the evening of Sunday, June 22. A pair of Black Diamond 13-year-olds were walking to a friend's house, not far from the local elementary school. Police say a man driving a pickup, later identified as Evarardo Garcia Trujillio, 27, idled up to the girls and asked if they wanted a ride. When they refused, the man's questions became more forward and sexual in nature, Hurst said. Police allege Trujillio stepped from his truck and, asked the girls if they wanted to have sex and aasked some rather graphic questions. When they continued to refuse, Hurst said, the suspect told them to get into his truck.

As this discussion was occurring, the Taffs happened to drive by, on their way to pick up a company rig. "I just had a gut feeling," Lorianne Taff said. "Something just didn't look right." She pulled up and asked the girls a rather innocuous question and received a satisfactory answer. They drove about a half-block, to where their company dump truck was parked, and Tom Taff stepped out. Agreeing that the situation "just felt weird," he told his wife to go back and offer the girls a ride home.

When Lorianne Taff reappeared and asked if everything was OK, "the girls literally ran to my car in tears," she said. Inside the vehicle, they blurted out the questions the man had asked and the demand he made. Taff dialed 911 on her cellular phone and told the girls to explain exactly what had happened.

The suspect's vehicle was parked near the end of a dead-end alley, so Taff quickly flagged down her husband who, by that time, was driving by in his rig. "I guess I was auto-pilot," she said, explaining that she returned to her sport utility vehicle and drove down the alley, blocking the suspect's only escape route. Tom Taff was right beside her, adding to the barricade.

The suspect, who had entered a residence, emerged and proclaimed his innocence, asking Tom Taff why they were blocking his departure. Tom Taff recalls the suspect saying, "All I did was talk to some little girls." Taff said he replied, "That's not the way we heard it."

While this conversation was going on, Lorianne Taff - a member of the Enumclaw School Board - was talking to law enforcement personnel. It was an odd scene, she said, describing Trujillio to the police as he stood just a few feet away.

Black Diamond police quickly arrived, along with one of the girl's parents, so the Taffs went home. Hugging, they agreed they "felt good" about getting involved, despite the potential for violence. Tom Taff said the suspect never hinted at a physical confrontation, though he was prepared for the possibility.

The Taffs had settled in for the night when the police called, asking them to make the short trip to the police station for an interview. It was about 1 a.m. when they headed for home the second time.

Trujillio was charged by the King County Prosecutor's Office with "luring and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes," Hurst said. Bail was initially set at $75,000.

When authorities ran Trujillio's fingerprints through the nationwide system, Hurst said, they discovered he has also previously been charged under the name Antonio Padillio Temores.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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