Baby Snatching – Every mother’s worst nightmare: Sarah Joseph’s story made international news headlines in November 2013 after her baby son was kidnapped from outside her home in Malaysia and she was run over by the get-away-car as she tried to stop the machete-wielding man from taking him.
In the midst of her terror she tried to piece together what had happened and why she would be a target in the affluent area she was living. All she could do was pray for a miracle.
Fortunately, little Freddy was found 18 hours later beside Lake Titiwangsa, some eight miles away from their home in Jalan Terasek, Bangsar. Miraculously, he was unharmed but the mental torture the single mum endured over those 18 hours still affects her today.
Despite catching the incident on a neighbour’s CCTV, Malaysian police never caught Freddy’s kidnapper. Six months on from the terrifying incident, Sarah contacted TTTP to tell how she’s still haunted by that day and wakes up screaming from nightmares imagining what happened to her son during his kidnap. What’s more, she says she’s been let down by the Malaysian authorities who arrested her former nanny and released her without charge and still no one has been brought to justice.
Desperate for help, Sarah turned to the British consulate in Malaysia who failed to send any help. Sarah was feeding the toddler in their front garden in the idyllic Kuala Lumpur suburb on 8th November 2013 at 6.10pm. Turning her back for thirty seconds, she was shocked to find a man holding a machete had grabbed her son.
Brave Sarah tackled the child snatcher while he swung the huge knife at her. As he got into a car and started to drive away, the desperate mum tried to hold on to the steering wheel but was flung off. Watching her only son disappear, she was hysterical and certain she’d never see him again.
Devastated, Sarah was treated for a broken foot, toe and smashed hip. Malaysian police, friends and family rushed to Sarah’s aid and a major search was set in motion. Fortunately, 18 hours later the distressed toddler was found ditched on a road beside a park. Friends confirmed it was Freddy and Sarah was reunited with her baby.
Against all odds, her son was unharmed apart from two bruises on his wrists. Over the next week, Sarah noticed a major change in Freddy’s personality and he became aggressive. Trauma experts told Sarah because he was only 21 months at the time, he won’t remember kidnapping.
After seeing psychologists and trauma counsellors, Sarah is finally getting her life back on track. The single mum moved back to Liverpool in March 2014 because she couldn’t bear to be reminded of the event. Two suspects were arrested, one of which was Sarah’s former maid, but both were released without charge and Malaysian police never caught Freddy’s kidnapper.
Now home and safe, Sarah is still plagued by nightmares of the kidnapping. Speaking from her home in Liverpool, Merseyside, she said: “I’m still extremely upset by the thought of what happened to him in those 18 hours. Every night when I’m giving him a cuddle I get filled with the hell of what we went through and there isn’t a day where it doesn’t cross my mind. I was so incredibly lucky that I got my baby back. I thought raising him in Malaysia was going to give him a great quality of life, but I almost lost him. Now I’m back in the UK I can finally feel safe and walk down the street without constantly looking over my shoulder.”
TTTP feature writer Paisley placed Sarah’s story in That’s Life magazine where it appeared as a three-page piece and we’ve since secured a second rights deal with Woman magazine.
If you have a traumatic story that you would like to share with others, please get in touch today. You can contact us via the Sell My Story form on the right hand side of this page, or visit our Contact Us page for other ways to reach us. You can also read more about how to sell your story to the press here.