A 35-year-old transient was held to answer today on charges of felony child abduction for allegedly taking a 4-year-old boy from in front of his home in Concord and buying him a meal at a nearby Chinese restaurant, Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves said. The boy had been playing outside his apartment on Meadow Lane shortly after 5 p.m. on July 15 when Jose Camal allegedly approached him. The boy allegedly told Camal that he was hungry and Camal took him by the hand and led him across the street to a nearby shopping center, Concord police Officer Cody Harrison said during a preliminary hearing in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez today. They went to a Chinese restaurant in the shopping center, where Camal bought a combo plate and sat down and shared it with the boy, police said. When Camal got up to use the restroom, the boy left the restaurant. A neighbor found him walking through the shopping center and returned him to his home, police said. A short time later, a neighbor saw Camal and identified him as the man who had taken the child, Graves said. Camal allegedly told Harrison during an interview the next day that he didn’t know the boy and that he was sorry for taking him, Harrison said. Prosecutors initially declined to file charges against Camal because there was no evidence that he intended to harm him. An employee at the restaurant told police that she assumed the boy was Camal’s son and said that the child did not seem distressed. After further consideration of the case, however, prosecutors decided they had enough evidence to charge Camal with child abduction,
District Attorney Robert Kochly said. He is scheduled to return to court Sept. 8 for a second arraignment.
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