Thursday June 29, 2017 was just an ordinary day for Ron Kraus and his son Ryker, until it took an unexpected turn.
It was around suppertime when Ron Kraus was in his front yard in Walkerton, Indiana putting a John Deere Tractor Trailer together for his son’s 1st birthday party they were having the upcoming Sunday. He noticed a minivan had been parked across the street for the last 10 minutes and didn’t think anything of it until the van pulled up to the end of the driveway. A white male wearing a white T-shirt with gray camouflage shorts walked up to Kraus and asked if he had any water because his vehicle was overheating. Kraus, being a good Samaritan, and knowing he had plenty of cases of water by the front door for the party, decided to help. But it was something he would think twice about doing in the future. He turned his back for one minute, and just like that, his child was gone.
The stranger had waited for Kraus’ back to turn before taking little Ryker and running as fast as he could. But he wasn’t fast enough. While running from the house and trying to put Ryker in a duffel bag, Kraus had realized what was going on and ran after his son’s kidnapper. He quickly caught up to him and hit him over the head. Ryker fell, but Kraus made sure he was okay and safely inside his house before calling the police around 6:13 p.m. Before police arrived though, the suspect had fled from the scene. Kraus attempted to chase after him, but he was not fast enough this time.
Police say the suspect is a white male, about 45 years old, with beard stubble, 5″11, 200 pounds, and a stocky, athletic build. He may have tan, leathery skin and crow’s feet around his eyes. The vehicle he was driving is described as a 90’s model Ford Aerostar minivan.
Although the police state this is an uncommon occurrence – especially not one that includes an abductee attempting to sidetrack a parent to take a child – there have been two similar occurrences in Walkerton and Wanatah where someone had approached children. Police say the instances are not connected and there is no immediate danger. Parents should still be cautious, though. You never know what is going to happen. This father turned his back for one minute to help someone who he thought was in need, and his child was almost taken. It is a very scary thought. If it wasn’t for the quick response from the father, things could have definitely ended up differently. It just goes to show, you never know what is going to happen and you should always be prepared. Be aware of your surroundings, like Kraus did. He had seen the vehicle there before it had parked in his driveway. It maybe caused him to be a little more cautious when helping this man. If the water wasn’t easily accessible, would he have attempted to help? Maybe, but he probably would have brought his son inside with him to get it. This father did what any parent would do – protect his son at all costs.