Authorities: Girl, 7, swims to land after being kidnapped, choked, thrown off bridge
WORCESTER, Mass. (WJAR) - A 7-year-old girl is lucky to be alive after she was kidnapped, choked and then thrown off a 290-foot bridge, according to authorities.
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. issued a press release Monday, noting that Joshua J. Hubert, 35, of Worcester, was arrested and charged with kidnapping. He pleaded not guilty in court on Monday.
Early said Hubert kidnapped the child following a family cookout in Worcester Sunday around 2:30 a.m. He then choked her and threw her into Lake Quinsigamond, with the girl swimming to shore about an hour and a half later.
“The girl survived the fall, swam to shore and sought help at a nearby home on the Shrewsbury side of the lake,” Early noted, adding that Shrewsbury and Worcester Police, as well as the State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, immediately launched an investigation. “The girl suffered visible, but not life-threatening, injuries.”
Prosecutors said the child claims that Hubert drove her around and then choked her.
"She had marks on her neck that are consistent with strangulation,” an attorney said in court.
NECN reported that there are now no trespassing signs on Hubert’s front lawn. His lawyer isn’t saying much.
"I'm not going to discuss the case,” the attorney told NECN. “I just don't know enough information.”
Meanwhile, people who live near the bridge are horrified.
“I don't believe she survived it at all. At all. God bless her,” Jodi Vizzo told NECN.
Anne Ford, a family friend, shared similar sentiments.
"It's atrocious and I feel sorry for everybody involved, especially the little girl,” Ford told NECN.
Hubert, who authorities said attended the cookout, was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday.
“Fortunately, a greater tragedy was averted,” Early said. “The young victim had the strength to make it to shore and get help. I want to thank the resident who answered the door and helped the girl. I also want to acknowledge the Worcester and Shrewsbury police and the State Police Detectives assigned to my office. They did a terrific job working together in investigating this case.”
Prosecutors said Hubert will likely face additional charges.