One arrested after alleged attempted kidnapping Monday

Alert residents contacting police allowed for a quick arrest and safe return of the children

A man was arrested after stealing a van with two children aboard from Hoquiam on Monday morning.

Anthony Dennis Hurley, 34, of Aberdeen, was booked into the county jail on charges of second-degree kidnapping and theft of a motor vehicle on Monday afternoon, according to the county website.

“Obviously the paramount task is to recover the kids safe and sound,” said Hoquiam Police Chief Joe Strong in an interview. “The circumstances and the teamwork in this case resulted in the most successful outcome we could have had.”

The call came in at around 8:40 a.m. that a van containing two children, ages 6 and 1, had been stolen from a residence on the 2700 block of Pacific Avenue. The woman had left the vehicle running with the air conditioning on, as the children were sleeping, according to an Hoquiam Police Department social media post.

“Law enforcement from across the county converged on Hoquiam,” Strong said.

About 10 minutes later, residents Jeffery Alderton and Robert Olson, who were passing a gas station in South Aberdeen, saw a vehicle matching the description being circulated on social media, Olson said in a phone interview. They pulled alongside and called 911.

“We weren’t taking our eyes off the van till the cops came,” Olson said.

Strong praised both men for their alertness and for reaching out to law enforcement.

“They’re the reason we got these kids back,” Strong said. “It is certainly the call we want to get when someone sees the vehicle.”

Cosmopolis Police Chief Heath Layman was the first responding officer to arrive at the gas station. Layman exited the vehicle and approached Hurley, who attempted to escape on foot. Layman called in the suspect’s movements while staying and checking on the children, who were both unharmed, Strong said.

“I’m grateful to be a part of a multiagency effort to save kids and serve our community,” Layman said in a phone interview. Layman feted years of working closely with other agencies for the fluid response and safe return of the children.

Aberdeen Police Department Sgt. Gary Sexton, who was responding to the call, was able to detain Hurley and take him into custody.

“Those are one of those calls you don’t hear throughout the career,” said APD Cmdr. Steve Timmons in a phone interview. “It just shows all the great work of all the agencies working together.”

The case has been referred to the prosecutor’s office and more charges may be forthcoming, Strong said. Cases like this are uncommon, Strong said.

“This is, in 28 years, this is my first experience with it,” Timmons said. “This is the call no officer or dispatcher wants to get.”

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or