AUBURN, Wash. — The suspect charged in the attempted kidnapping of an Auburn barista pleaded not guilty on Thursday.
Matthew William Darnell is being held on $500,000 bail for the alleged crime on Jan. 16.
On Jan. 16 just after 5 a.m. a barista working alone at an Auburn coffee stand called 911 to report a man had just attempted to kidnap her. She said the suspect fled in a dark-colored truck, according to court documents.
Surveillance video from the coffee stand showed a man, believed to be Darnell, extending his hand to give the barista some cash. The victim told police the suspect asked her for change so he could leave her a tip. Surveillance video captured a distinct tattoo on the man's forearm that appears to read "Chevrolet" in cursive script.
Video shows the victim handing the man some change when he grabbed her right wrist and pulled her "violently toward him," according to court documents. The man is then seen reaching out what appears to be a "closed looped black colored zip tie" with an opening about 10-12 inches in diameter. The man lurched forward and "appeared to attempt to place the looped zip tie around the head of the victim as if to lasso her," according to court documents. The suspect "just missed" the victim's head as she began to pull away.
The man lost his grip on the victim and she fell back into the coffee stand. The victim quickly closed the window.
Information about the abduction, including the suspect's description, was released to the media. Soon after, Auburn police were receiving "numerous tips," with the most frequent name being Darnell's.
"The response has been absolutely overwhelming from the Auburn community. They have really come out and really have tried to bring justice to the situation," said Kolby Crossley, with the Auburn Police Department.
Darnell's Washington State Department of Licensing photo appeared to resemble the man seen in the surveillance video and the suspect's residence was within 2 miles of the coffee stand.
Detectives went to Darnell's registered address and spoke to him in his driveway. After he was read his Miranda rights, the suspect said he wanted to turn himself in. A tattoo on the suspect's left forearm appeared to be an exact match to the tattoo seen in the surveillance video of the incident.
The victim was able to positively identify the suspect as the man who tried to kidnap her when shown a photo montage comprised of six individual page photos, according to court documents.
Darnell voluntarily allowed police to search his vehicle, where they found a black colored looped zip tie, with an opening about 10 inches in diameter under the front passenger seat.