A father, who police said forced his 11-month-old daughter and her mother into a car at knife-point in New Haven, appeared in court for the first time since the incident Tuesday afternoon.
A statewide Amber Alert was issued Monday afternoon after the kidnapping was reported on Norton Street in New Haven around 5:30 p.m.
About 2 1/2 hours after the incident was reported, all three were located unharmed in Bridgeport, Police said.
The father, 33-year-old Rickardo Rhoden, was arrested.
One witness, who didn't want to be identified, said she knew something was wrong when a neighbor came rushing over to her Norton Street apartment with two of her grandchildren.
She told her another grandchild, 11-month-old Azryrah Rhoden and the little girl's mother, Sarah Burton, had just been kidnapped by Rhoden.
"When you have kids and someone does that to you, it makes you wonder what's wrong with this person," the witness said.
Rhoden was arraigned at New Haven Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.
According to court documents, there was some sort of fight between Rhoden and Burton and woman's mother tried to break it up.
Rhoden threatened to stab Burton and kill her mother, according to court documents. When Burton began to dial 911 on her cell, Rhoden grabbed the phone and threw it across the bedroom.
Rhoden showed a knife and swung in her direction, court documents state. He forced Burton and Azryrah into the vehicle and took off.
Rhoden, who is a lifelong Connecticut resident, has previous convictions including narcotics arrests and reckless endangerment. He was released from prison March 7, 2012 after serving a sentence for first-degree assault.
Court testimony revealed that a protective order has been extended against Rhoden, who swore underneath his breath after hearing the judge's order.
He is to have no contact with Burton, Azryrah or the two other children, who were home during the kidnapping. Burton's mother was able to usher them to safety, police said.
A State official stopped by to check on Burton and her three children. She told Eyewitness News she's badly bruised and humiliated, but trying to move on.
Rhoden's grandmother, who was in court Tuesday, said the incident was "all a misunderstanding" and all three came to her home in Bridgeport Monday.
"I was outside in the yard and he came by," said Rhoden's Grandmother Florestine Henry. "He was in house for awhile. And Sarah and the baby were outside, like always cuz she's not allowed in. All three left and came back."
Surveillance video from their apartment complex showed "it appeared that (Burton) was going with Rhoden on her own free will and there was no force used to make her leave with him," according to court documents.
Rhoden, who was employed for the past two months working construction, is being held on a $150,000 bond.
The judge also indicated he didn't know whether more charges were pending.
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