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Man allegedly tries to kidnap, then buy, 3 year old for $1,000 before being ran off and arrested

A Kentucky man is in jail after allegedly trying to kidnap a toddler. When confronted, he offered $1,000 for the child.

CORBIN, Ky. — A parent’s worst nightmare became true for one grandma when a Kentucky man grabbed her 3-year-old grandson and tried to take him. When that didn't work, officials said he offered $1,000 to buy him.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I lost him,” said Kristy Baker Franks, the boy's grandmother.

Kristy Baker is relieved but also terrified after her grandson was almost kidnapped as he was playing in the front yard.

“I was sitting here and he was playing in the trailer, my car was here," she said. "Out of nowhere, there was a man in a red car with four doors across the road."

The man then approached their house. She said that he walked by the fence and tried to grab her grandson by the arm, walking him towards a taller part of the fence.

She sprung into action to save her little boy.

“I jumped up and said, 'hey what are you doing,'" she said. "He said, 'I’ll give you all $1,000 for this boy.'”

That man, 74-year-old Ronnie Lou Helton, is now charged with attempted kidnapping and promoting sex trafficking. Baker said it only took seconds before she may never have seen her grandson again.

“All this happened within 10 seconds, and if I wouldn’t have been sitting there, he would have gotten my baby,” Baker said.

Although little the boy is safe, she says he is shaken to the core.

“He’s pretty shaken up. He keeps repeating, 'the bad man tried to get me,'” said Baker.

Kristy Cross, a child mental therapist, said that it is now vital for the family to start dealing with the trauma from the incident, to help him process the frightening incident.

"Get him into therapy to at least assess where he's at, and what he still feels about this, so that he's not terrified of everybody from here on out," said Cross.

Baker is still taken aback and said that she has a message for all parents after this terrible experience.

“If you are a parent, hold your kids close because it only takes a second to lose them,” she said.

Ronnie Helton is in custody and Baker said she’ll be putting a bigger fence up, so nothing like this can ever happen again.

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