FORT WORTH, Texas — A North Texas kidnapper on Wednesday was found guilty of abducting an 8-year-old girl and holding her captive for eight hours.
This conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox. This investigation was conducted by the following agencies: FBI’s North Texas Child Exploitation Task Force, Fort Worth Police Department’s Major Case Unit Taskforce, which includes representatives of local law enforcement around the region, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), and Texas Department of Public Safety.
Following a two-day trial, a federal jury in Fort Worth convicted Michael Webb, 51, of kidnapping after less than 10 minutes of deliberation.
“Today’s jury verdict represents closure and consequence – closure for the family and consequence for Michael Webb,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “Early on, I pledged to the family that my office would seek justice on behalf of this victim, this family, and this community. As a prosecutor and a mother, it was important for me to take part in presenting this case to a jury. We’re glad this jury delivered swift justice.”
"Today's verdict underscores the FBI's commitment to aggressively pursue those who would prey on the most vulnerable in our community," said Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI's Dallas Field Office. "I am proud of the outstanding collaboration in this case between the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, the Fort Worth Police Department's Major Case Unit Task Force, and the many citizen volunteers who worked tirelessly to help bring the victim home safely. The critical role volunteer searchers and other members of the public played in recovering the victim cannot be overstated, and the FBI is grateful for their assistance.”
According to evidence presented at trial, Webb grabbed the child as she and her mother were walking down Fort Worth’s 6th Avenue at 6:38 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Neighborhood surveillance video shows the victim’s mother knocked to the ground as Webb’s car drives away.
The victim’s mother testified, describing her daughter as “brave, strong, and smart” before describing for the jury the horrific details of the “physical fight” for her daughter’s life.
In a three-hour recorded interview with the FBI, Webb confessed to the kidnapping, admitting that after successfully fighting off the child’s mother, he drove to a church parking lot. Later that evening, he admitted that he took the girl to Forest Hill’s WoodSprings Suites hotel, where he carried the child into a room and held her captive.
It was around midnight when a tip led Forest Hill police officers to Webb’s room. Shortly before their arrival, Webb admitted to threatening the girl, and hiding the girl from law enforcement in a small laundry basket. The officers, having visually inspected the room, left without finding the child.
Meanwhile, friends, volunteers, and law enforcement canvassed the city of Fort Worth looking for the missing girl. It was ultimately the efforts of a family friend who spotted Webb’s Ford sedan and called 911. Fort Worth Police Department responded and confirmed that there appeared to be blood on the front passenger seat. Law enforcement then acted quickly to gain entry into the hotel room, rescuing the victim who was found hidden in the laundry basket.
Jurors heard an emotional, “We got her, we got her!” from officers who announced the news over the radio moments after they found the girl. “He’s in custody; we have her.”
Webb, who has been in federal custody since his May 19arrest, faces up to life in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem, the District’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, are prosecuting this case. U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor presided over the trial.