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A judge found probable cause Thursday to hold a 25-year-old man for investigation of kidnapping and auto theft after he allegedly stole an SUV with a child inside in West Seattle.

Bail was set at $500,000 for Estevan Lucio Sanchez, who waived his appearance during his bail hearing at the King County Jail, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Sanchez is accused of stealing a Ford Edge with a 10-month-old baby inside from a convenience-store parking lot Wednesday afternoon while the baby’s father had gone into the store.

According to a probable-cause statement, a Seattle man had left his daughter in the back seat of the SUV and was only about 20 feet from the car when he walked into the Sea Mart in the 1600 block of Southwest Holden Street. Within seconds, Sanchez got into the vehicle, the statement said.

Seattle police spokesman Patrick Michaud said the father had taken his “proximity key” with him. However, because he chased Sanchez to the vehicle the key was close enough to the vehicle to allow Sanchez to start the SUV by hitting the power button, Michaud said.

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The father told police that he yelled “that his baby was in the car and to not take the car,” and Sanchez looked at him, paused for a moment, and then drove off from the parking lot and headed east on Southwest Holden Street, according to the probable-cause statement.

The SUV, with the child inside, was found about 20 minutes later parked at Southwest 99th Street and Eighth Avenue Southwest. Residents of the White Center neighborhood had noticed the car parked in the middle of the street and called 911 to report an emergency after they realized the baby was inside.

The baby girl was unharmed and reunited with her father 2 minutes after police arrived.

Police arrested Sanchez at a White Center restaurant located halfway between the abandoned car and his Delridge house at 4:18 p.m., about an hour after the baby’s father reported the vehicle stolen, the statement said.

Investigators say they are classifying the incident as a kidnapping because the father had yelled out that his child was in the car.

Under Washington state law, it’s legal to leave a child under 16 in a car, as long as the car isn’t running.

“We aren’t blaming anybody here other than the man who kidnapped this child,” police spokesman Drew Fowler said on Wednesday.

Sanchez was wanted on two warrants at the time of his arrest: a $75,000 felony warrant for violating a no-contact order and taking a motor vehicle without permission in Seattle, and a $5,000 misdemeanor warrant for failure to appear for a domestic violence-assault charge in King County. A 2013 probable-cause document from the fourth-degree domestic violence assault charge states that Sanchez had an addiction to methamphetamine.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

Seattle Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green and news researcher Gene Balk contributed to this story.Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530 or

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