Slain Suspect in Kidnaping Tied to Earlier Abduction Try
A man suspected of kidnaping a 4-year-old girl from her Laurel Canyon home this week is believed to have tried to kidnap another child in the same neighborhood about a week earlier, police said Friday.
Erez Bar-Levav, a 24-year-old Israeli suspected of abducting Deanna Jin from her home on Tianna Road, was shot to death by police officers after a car chase Thursday. The child was recovered and returned to her family.
Detective Louis Boozell said he found a note in the dead man’s pocket with the address of another family living in the Laurel Canyon area.
A boy at that address was approached about a week ago by a man whom the police have tentatively identified as Bar-Levav, officers said.
‘Probably’ Same Man
“We’re assuming it was the same guy,” Boozell said. “We think it probably was.”
Boozell said he concluded this after the boy’s family was interviewed by the police. The family lives in the same neighborhood as the Jins but on a different street.
The boy’s mother, Boozell said, recalled that her son answered the doorbell about a week ago and a man attempted to lure him outside and into his car by “talking about Little League.”
Boozell said the mother intervened before her son got out the door. As the stranger drove off, the mother wrote down his license plate number. Boozell said it was “close” to the one on the car Bar-Levav was driving when he was killed.
Bar-Levav is believed to have abducted the Jin girl from her home Wednesday by posing as a real estate assessor and luring the child into his car--possibly by offering her a piece of jewelry.
He had demanded $20,000 ransom. An undercover police officer attempted to meet with Bar-Levav on Thursday to negotiate the child’s release. But Bar-Levav, apparently believing he was being tailed, sped off with officers in pursuit. His car collided with several vehicles before crashing into a metal fence.
10 Shots Fired
Police officers said that, when they walked up to his vehicle, he tried to run them down. They fired 10 shots, killing him.
Officers found the Jin girl, frightened and hungry but otherwise unhurt, at Bar-Levav’s apartment in Van Nuys.
Bar-Levav arrived here from Israel about two years ago, Boozell said, and has traveled back and forth several times since then. Boozell said Bar-Levav worked part-time for a brother who owns a retail clothing store in the Los Angeles area. He also drove his brother’s car.
For several months, Bar-Levav lived in his brother’s apartment in Sherman Oaks. The manager, Edna Fritch, recalled that Bar-Levav was reclusive, unfriendly and apparently unemployed but well-dressed.