Man found guilty in Calumet City kidnapping

Chronicle Media

A Dec. 20, 2017 video image shows the kidnapping of a girl in Calumet City as she walks home from school. The girl’s image has been blocked out to protect her identity. Bryan Protho of East Chicago, Indiana has been convicted of the kidnapping. (FBI video image)

A federal jury has convicted an Indiana man of kidnapping a child from a Calumet City street as she walked home from school.

At 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 2017, Bryan Protho grabbed the child as she walked through the south suburb. Protho forcibly dragged the victim into a red Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle and drove away. He then parked the vehicle in a nearby alley and assaulted the child. The victim was able to get out of the SUV and flag down a passing vehicle, and law enforcement was contacted. The kidnapping was captured on a residential surveillance system.

Protho was arrested Dec. 27, 2017, and he has remained in federal custody since then. During a two-week trial in federal court in Chicago, the victim testified about her ordeal and identified Protho has her abductor.

The jury on Feb. 24 convicted Protho, 41, of East Chicago, Ind., of one count of kidnapping. The conviction is punishable by a minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum of life.

U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood did not immediately set a sentencing date. A status hearing is scheduled for March 5.

The Calumet City Police Department led the investigation, with assistance from the FBI and the Lansing Police Department.

John Lausch Jr., U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Christopher Fletcher, chief of the Calumet City Police Department; Emmerson Buie Jr., special agent-in-charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Dennis Murrin Jr., chief of the Lansing Police Department, thanked members of the community for providing valuable assistance in the investigation.