Carjacker steals vehicle with baby inside from pregnant woman, deputies say

1-year-old found unharmed near Apopka

APOPKA, Fla. – The Orange County Sheriff's Office on Thursday released a sketch of a man who they say carjacked a pregnant woman while her 1-year-old child was in the car.

The carjacking happened around 6:25 p.m. Wednesday at the woman's home near Old Apopka Road and East 12th Street.

Deputies said the woman, Ferlenciel Dowdell, had gotten her older children out of the vehicle while she was unloading groceries. Dowdell said she left her daughter in the car for a moment as she took the other children and bags inside.

"As I was coming back to grab her, I saw the suspect hop in my driver's seat," she said. "I ran over to the back seat of my car to try to pull her out, and that's when he proceeded to reverse with me still hanging on to the back of the car."

Dowdell said she chased the man down the street, yelling that her baby was still in the car.

The baby and vehicle were found unharmed a short time later less than a mile away on East 12th Street and the West Orange Bike Trail, deputies said.

The man fled south on foot on West Orange Trail, according to authorities. Sgt. Joseph Covelli, who works on the Sheriff's Office's robbery team, believes the man cannot have gotten far.

"He is obviously walking the community so someone knows this individual," Covelli said.

Deputies tweeted a sketch of the carjacker, asking for the public's help in identifying him.

They described him a skinny man in his 20s with a full mustache and beard stubble. He was last seen wearing black pants, a red shirt, a black beanie and a black leather jacket with a hood and a red design on the right chest area.

Dowdell said she has seen the man in the area before.

"He sleeps on the bus stop," she said. "He walks around here in Apopka, but he usually doesn't do anything. He usually goes on about his business. I guess yesterday was the day he decided to do something."

Dowdell suffered only minor scrapes and bruises from the incident. The mother is grateful the situation ended the way it did.

"I didn't think I would get my child back, but I'm glad he stopped," she said.

Deputies are asking any neighbors with surveillance video to contact the Sheriff's Office by calling 407-836-4357. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS. 

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