Deputies: Kenner man confessed to sexual assault, kidnap of girl

Published: Jun. 6, 2013 at 8:31 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2013 at 8:31 PM CDT
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Steven Carter (JPSO photo)
Steven Carter (JPSO photo)

A witness to the kidnapping of a 7-year-old girl says she wishes she could have done more.

Jefferson Parish deputies say the suspect, 29-year-old Steven Carter, has confessed to nabbing the little girl and sexually assaulting her in Metairie.

It was a hellish ordeal that began by the side of a pool.

"The man kept walking back and forth, and the fourth time he came and picked her up... she wasn't paying attention and he picked her up, went to the car, and left," said 10-year old Tyreale McMaster, a friend of the girl who was nabbed from the pool at the Yorkshire Apartments Wednesday afternoon.

"Once she got here she screamed help, and as they drove off I could still hear her screaming," said McMaster.  "I went to go tell my mama and she told her parents and they called the cops. And my mama went to tell the little girl's mom, and she kept saying, 'Where's my daughter,' and asking why didn't we help. And I told her if we helped her, he would have put her down and got one of us, and I couldn't because I had a baby."

About one hour later and two miles away, police say Carter dropped the victim off in the 900 block of William David Parkway, where she knocked on three doors before someone helped her.

"They just said the little girl knocked on our door, and she had a Bible in her hand," said neighbor Amir Zeton.

Police got two big clues to help catch the kidnapper: a surveillance shot from the apartment complex and another one of the suspect's gold Ford Taurus, taken from a house on West William David.

"It was shocking... I had seen the car in the neighborhood prior to the incident, " said neighbor Valerie Vanney.

The resident whose camera captured the car image didn't want to go on camera, but he tells us he's glad to have played a part in such a quick arrest.

Police identified the suspect and went to his house on Iowa Avenue in Kenner. "I'm very surprised because I have two daughters, a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old," said neighbor Abraham Kahalil.

At Carter's house, officers were told that he was at a drug treatment center in New Orleans. Investigators arrested Carter outside that center late Wednesday night.

The Sheriff's Office says Carter has confessed, and he's now being held at the Gretna jail. His bond set at $1.5 million, and his alleged victim is back home.

"I kept crying and hugging her, because I was so happy that she came back," said McMaster.

And she says she will never again take a stranger for granted.