Spotting kidnapping in progress, veteran helps Topeka police nab suspect


David Scott Baker (Courtesy Photo/Shawnee County Department of Corrections)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A man traveling the country for veteran suicide awareness helped stop a kidnapping Thursday, according to the Topeka Police Department.

Darren Hafford does push-ups in Topeka to raise awareness about veteran suicide. (KSNT Photo/Cassie Nichols)

A U.S. Marine Corps and Army National Guard veteran, Darren Hafford, made a goal to travel the United States and do 50 push-ups in every state to combat veteran suicide. While visiting Topeka for this project, he saw a man get into a car where an 86-year-old woman was in the passenger seat. When the woman appeared in distress, and the man drove away, Topeka police said Hafford called them.

According to TPD, Hafford spotted the kidnapping and car theft around 8:55 p.m. in the 800 block of Southwest Harrison Street, close by the Kansas Statehouse.

Thanks to Hafford’s tip, TPD said officers quickly found the car with the suspect and woman still inside near the 300 block of Southwest 10th Avenue, right in front of the Kansas Statehouse.

They arrested David S. Baker, 54, of Topeka on charges including kidnapping, aggravated burglary, theft and assault and booked him into the Shawnee County Department of Corrections. According to TPD, the woman was not hurt in the incident, and she did not know Baker.

“TPD would like to thank Hafford for immediately stepping into action to help a stranger in need.”

Topeka Police Department

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