SPOKANE, Wash. -A 47-year-old man was arrested for unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation after witnesses told police he tried to grab a 2-year-old girl outside a bathroom at River Park Square Mall on the Fourth of July. The man told police he grabbed the girl to keep her safe.
According to court documents released Wednesday, police responded to River Park Square after mall security detained a suspicious person around 8 p.m. Officers took witness statements and checked surveillance video, which showed a man, identified as Ronald Edwards, standing outside the woman's bathroom. The documents say Edwards is seen on surveillance video and appears to grab the girl.
The girl's mother told police she was carrying her daughter while walking toward the bathroom and Edwards walked by and said they had "beautiful smiles." According to the documents, she said she went into the bathroom and she and her daughter came out, Edwards grabbed her daughter by wrapping his arm around her waist. The mother grabbed her daughter away from Edwards and walked away from him.
Another witness interviewed by police said he saw the man he saw the man standing by the women's bathroom door and reported the man to security.
Responding officers spoke with security at the mall and retrieved surveillance video of the incident. The officer then interviewed Edwards about what happened after reading him his rights. Edwards waived his rights and said he grabbed the girl because he was stopping her from "running out into traffic."
Edwards was arrested and booked into jail Tuesday night.
According the the documents, Edwards has an extensive criminal history, including an arrest in 2016 for lewd conduct.