Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Police have been praised for rescuing this 13-year-old boy in just 24 hours after he was kidnapped, chained up and held at gunpoint for ransom.
The kidnappers also tried to snare his brother, but the sibling became suspicious about the words they used on the phone as they did not feel right and the alarm was raised, sparking a desperate race against time.
Petar Mitrovic, 13, was kidnapped in his hometown of Stara Pazova located in the Srem District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia and he was reported as missing at around 11pm on Sunday night.
The boy’s father Goran stated: “He was tied up with chains, a mask or sweater was put on his head, and they kept him at gunpoint at all times and told him what to do. They tried to lure my older son too. When Peter was abducted, messages were sent to his older brother saying that Peter was in Pazic, a playground in Nova Pazova.
“He could only send messages. The older son was immediately suspicious because the messages contained words Peter didn’t usually use, when he tried calling his brother he did not answer. Messages where coming asking him to come and help him, apparently he was having some problems with a girl.”
The father added: “Then when the older son asked his brother to meet him, at some public place then he was no longer receiving answers. Then his mother called him and she received an answer. They let him answer. He said ‘mum I’m near, will be home soon’.
“However, at one point Peter said ‘do not put it on my head’ and the connection broke off. It was immediately clear to us that something was wrong.”
His mother then reported him missing, a senior public prosecutor was immediately notified, and the Chief of Police was called. Nebojsa Stefanovic, Minister of Interior Affairs, was informed of the case and a plan of action was drawn up.
Police were assisted by security cameras which they used to identify a vehicle that could have been used in the abduction.
Police officials told local media the rescue was “very, very difficult,” adding: “The child was hidden in an extremely inaccessible area on a campsite in Belegis, some 5-6 kilometres through the forest.”
The father said: “What I experienced this weekend I would not wish on anyone. Thank you to President Aleksandar Vucic, Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, UKP Chief, the police…
“Tonight they brought me good news. They went and searched for my boy with me and my friends, some police officers even extended their shifts. We have the best police in the world. Because what was happening was like a film. The motive for his kidnapping is most likely cash. They wanted money!”
The victim was rescued by police after 24 hours. According to former FBI agent Dr Bryanna Fox, who is also a professor of criminology, the first 48 hours are the most important because that is when leads are the freshest and there is the highest chance of rescuing the victim.
Police have arrested a man named in local media as Marko Jovisic, 54, who reportedly has priors for robbery. The authorities also arrested his two sons, Lazar Jovisic, and a suspect named only as N.J. because they are a minor.
They are being held on suspicion of having planned and committed the abduction.
A fourth suspect named as Alex Mrdja, 18, a friend of Marko Jovisic’s sons, was also arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.
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