A Massachusetts man has been ordered held without bail after he allegedly kidnapped, choked and threw a 7-year-old girl off of a bridge.
Police said Joshua Hubert, 35, took the child from a family party around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 27 without her parents' permission, reports WBZ. The girl survived the plunge off the bridge.
Hubert, a family friend, reportedly kidnapped the girl during a party at her grandparents' home. As he was leaving the party, he allegedly went through the house, where the young girl was sleeping in a chair.
Investigators said Hubert put the girl in a car before choking her, and then threw her off a bridge into Lake Quinsigamond, which is between Worcester and Shrewsbury in Massachusetts. The girl managed to swim to the shore, and arrived at a nearby home around 4:30 a.m. "in pajamas soaking wet."
She knocked on a woman's door for help, according to MassLive.
"She was incredibly brave," said the woman who helped the girl, Maeve Geary. "I have much admiration for her."
The girl's injuries, which included bruises and marks on her neck, were not life-threatening.
Hubert had reportedly previously coached a girls' youth hockey team and neighbors said he had seemed friendly.
"They are nice people, quiet people, I can't understand how this would happen to their grandchildren," neighbor Ann Ford said of the girl's grandparents. "They must be devastated."
An investigation by Worcester and Shrewsbury police, along with state police, led to Hubert's arrest.
Hubert was charged with kidnapping, and was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on Aug. 31, according to the Telegram & Gazette.
"All I can tell you is that we are maintaining innocence at this time," said Hubert's lawyer, Richard Welsh Jr.
During his arraignment, Hubert remained partially concealed behind a door, because Welsh said he didn't want his client to be seen in case there were identification issues in the case.
Hubert has been indefinitely suspended from his job at the Fay School in Southborough, where he had been working for seven weeks and had not yet completed the probationary period of his employment.
The private school said Hubert had not had any unsupervised interactions with students during the weeks he worked there.
The school's head, Rob Gustavson Jr., sent a letter to parents about Hubert on Aug. 29. He called the events in the case "troubling."
"We learned this morning that Mr. Hubert was arrested for abducting and physically assaulting a 7-year-old girl," said the letter. "According to reports, the girl was abducted from a private residence in Worcester, and neither that location nor the victim have any connection to Fay School."
"Mr. Hubert went through the same vetting process Fay School follows for all prospective employees," continued the letter. "This process includes fingerprinting, CORI and SORI checks, and recommendations. Mr. Hubert had verified and positive personnel references."
"The safety of our students continues to be paramount," wrote Gustavson. "We will inform you if we have more information to share."