A family from Jacksonville, Florida is still coming to terms with a disturbing crime committed against them while they were simply out enjoying a bite to eat. The family had gone to the local McDonald’s, and a dad let his two young boys go the bathroom on their own. He became concerned when one was taking a little too long, so he naturally went to check it out.
As AWM shares, that’s when he would walk in on something that completely blew his mind. His young son was in a stall with a man, and that man was pulling his pants back up. The father leapt into action, but the man was able to take off. Dad continued in hot pursuit, and police were able to eventually track him down. The perpetrator, later identified as 33-year-old Keith Andre Sykes, was hiding in a dumpster at the time.
“The father, like I said, recognized something wasn’t right, he took off after the subject, trying to catch up to him. He pursued the suspect from the McDonald’s restaurant all the way to Spring Park and Emerson Street where he lost sight of him,” explained Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director Michael Bruno.
“We indeed did have some type of sex crime,” added Chief Tom Hackney. “You never know what’s on the other side of a bathroom door. Some plan is better than no plan at all.”
One family member spoke up on behalf of all of them, and she made note of how insane this whole thing seems.
“They were in a family-oriented restaurant sitting just a couple chairs away from the bathroom. You can’t always stop everything. This man is crazy!” she said. “We teach the buddy system, and that’s what they did. She gave the buddy system, and it was corrupted by a grown adult. It doesn’t matter how old you are, a grown man can hurt any age, male or female.”
As News4Jax Crime and Safety Expert Gil Smith explains, the family is on the right track, even though they wound up as the unfortunate victims of a heinous crime.
“There’s a lot of good tips on that, for stranger danger…not accepting rides from strangers, not going anywhere with a stranger, going to someone’s house on the way to school,” he said. “The best place they can get that from is you. So you really need to have that talk without scaring them, without making them afraid to walk to school or use the bathroom. Just give them some safety tips. Give them some things to look out for.”
Those are all fantastic tips, but it’s of little solace to the family that was the victim of this frightening incident. As for the restaurant itself, who knows how long that creep was hanging out inside of the restroom. A simple walk-through for a random restroom check at designated times can discourage lurkers, and those that seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time on site can be politely asked to leave.