5-year-old girl says man tried kidnapping her outside Memphis Target

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A 5-year-old girl's screams saved her from a man she said tried to abduct her outside a Memphis Target.

The little girl was playing outside when she said a man told her to go with him. When she said no, he went running.

It happened at the Target off Highway 64 Monday afternoon.

WREG talked to the security guard on the phone who said he reported the incident to a Memphis police officer inside the store when it happened. He and employees said there are security cameras outside, so there's a good chance they caught this guy on camera.

"He was going to run off with her. That's the only thing I could think of," said Ashlee Wilkerson, who is just glad her little girl Malaiya knew what to do. "My 5-year-old daughter and my mom went outside, because my mom wanted to smoke a cigarette and my daughter wanted to get on the big red ball out front of the store there."

"I was sitting in the basket, and he said, 'You should come with me.' I shook my head and said, 'No!'" said Wilkerson's daughter, Malaiya Brantley. "He had a ball cap and a white shirt."

"My mom grabbed a hold of her, put her in the basket and went back into the store. He took off running into the parking lot," said Wilkerson.

Wilkerson and her husband told security, who then talked to a Memphis police officer who happened to be inside the store. While MPD, said they haven't received any calls to Target in the last two weeks, Wilkerson said the officer told her otherwise.

"That this had happened a few other times at this location, and they are on the watch. If they could catch him, they will go from there," she said.

Target employees talked to WREG on the phone. They said customers shouldn't be concerned because this is rare, and that the store is very safe. Customers WREG talked to agree.

"I think it can happen anywhere. You have to be careful, and you can't trust anybody," said customer Paul Conway.

As for Wilkerson, she is warning parents to never "let [your kids] out of your sight." She held her daughter a little tighter Monday. She's just thankful, Malaiya knew what to do.

"She was so proud of me that I didn't listen to him," said Malaiya.

The family said they gave a description of the man to the security guard and police. They said it was a white man in his 50s, around 5'11", with grey hair to his shoulders.

MPD said they will look into the allegations further and will check back with us Tuesday. The store isn't ready to release the surveillance video yet.


  • John

    Notice in the description the bad guy is described as WHITE.. Had he been a BLACK guy, the description would have been a 5 foot 11 man with long grey hair with no mention of his race being black. Come on WREG always let the public know ALL of the details of the description of the bad guys thanks.

    • porta

      A little girl almost got abducted and all you talk about is that who gives a fuck what color you …peebrain

      • Manda Warren

        Who cares what color it is.. a kid almost got abducted and a crime happened that’s the fn point. Not about the fn race you stupid dumb @$$

  • Henry

    To Pest Control, Whites and Blacks commit a lot of crimes in Memphis and sadly most of the violent crimes are black on black. How many young black man will be shot or stabbed today in Memphis. A friend of mine works at the ER at The Med. And he said most of the shootings and stabbings never make the news, unless the black man dies.

    • Monica Garrett

      What Pest Control said and I quote, “where are the racist roll inbreds that talk trash on blacks”, and he’s right. I notice the difference too. Crime has no color and happens everywhere. White crime is rapport as well. Young white men are mass murderers and old white men are child molesters and pedophiles; now do the numbers on that. Most of which you don’t read about in the news unless someones dead. Does this represent the white race as a whole, of course not. Smh.

    • Kevin

      Why the first thing come out of your mouth is about race? You are a stupid person that need to deal with bigotery before someone of another color end it for you or beat your butt so bad you wish you were dead. You are exactly what is wrong with this world. A coward like you just sit back and blame your fears on others …. I hope you don’t have any children and or a wife because they would ashame of such a lilly-liver coward you are …There are more good people in memphis then you and the rest of these troll that whine and cry like little girls …

  • Dave

    I’m still trying to figure out why the news would put a picture of a child who has NOT been abducted all over their website. That’s pretty irresponsible. Geez. WREG needs to get it together. I don’t know who runs the station but I’d bet there are others who could do it a lot better.

    • Pam

      Yes the parents better lock her up in a closet, and cover her face with a burka, god forbid someone sees her at school or something.

      • Dave

        I’m guessing you aren’t a parent. We all know anybody can be seen in public at any given time. But as a PARENT it is our duty to protect our child and allowing her name and face to be plastered on the news isn’t exactly protecting them. Keep in mind this is a 5 yr old. She is not a teenager who is already tweeting and instagramming or facebooking her entire life online. Trust me when I say this: the less exposure the better. There’s a reason why kids faces are usually blurred when you see them on TV. Oh and a point of order, it’s God with a capital “G”.

      • MikeBarret

        @Dave the reason faces are often blurred is because they’re minors and legally unable to sign a release form.

      • Dave

        And why do you think they can’t legally sign a release form? Because they lack the ability to always make decisions that’s in their best interest. You made my point while trying to refute it.

  • sue2u

    @ Dave–I was wondering the same thing! Nor would I as a parent have allowed my child’s name and picture up on the news either–now all the sicko has to do is look her and parents up–at least before he didn’t even know her name!

  • Jen

    I can’t be the only one who is wondering why a 5 year old child was ever in any danger. With proper supervision, this wouldn’t even be an incident. The smokers at that Target go AROUND a corner to smoke. The red ball is NOT directly by the area for smokers. This child was not being watched. Is it possible someone saw a child being unsupervised and tried to usher her to safety. If I saw a 5 year old playing alone outside a store, I might try to get them to go inside to contact an employee. The fact that the “victim’s” parents have plastered her face and name everywhere speaks volumes.

  • atjohnson

    Here is another Memphis discussion that has nothing to do with race turned into a conversation about race. I’m a black man who moved here 10 years ago and I’m sick of it. Black or White, the best way to prevent the media from reporting which race is responsible for crime is to quite committing crime!!!! Exercise some emotional control!!!! I’m beginning to think people indigenous to Memphis enjoy and thrive on conflict.

    • Racial Race Racist

      The Obama has taught us that we must constantly talk about, think about, plan our lives around race. Race is EVERYTHING. If you think we should not talk about it, then you must be racist.


    @ Racial Race Racist…I hope that is sarcasm. Not every black person voted for President Obama. I didn’t vote for either mainstream candidate. As a Christian, I have always respected and prayed for every President whether I agreed with their policies or not,, as the bible instructs us to respect and pray for those in authority. No matter how racist our ‘leaders; are, or how we disagree with their policies. No matter how out of touch they are…we can still rise above their behavior and not let it bring out the worse in us. We can control our emotions and make Memphis, and this country a better place one person at a time. God Bless You.

  • TaylorSwiftFan

    The biggest problem is they let her out of their sight.
    Well what do you expect? A child on the black market is worth thousands!
    If you value your children then don’t let them out of your sight!

  • Raelyn

    I just wish that WREG would disable the link that allows people to state opinions, because all they do is give people who are TRUE IDIOTS!!! The chance to talk about race, it seems on every story posted here is the concern of are they black or white, when every race commits crime and it doesn’t define the race as a whole. Ignorance is bliss, and way too many keyboard killers on these comment boxes.

  • Manda Warren

    Im disgusted. They have no business exploiting a child like this. WRONG WRONG WRONG. IF YALL EVER DID THAT TO MY DAUGHTER I WOULD OWN WREG AND YALL WOULD ALL BE FIRED…

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