SPOKANE, Wash. - More questions than answers tonight over an alleged kidnapping case involving an Airway Heights man, Richard Welch, who police said took a three-year-old boy from his home in North Spokane.
Welch is accused of taking that boy back to his apartment in Airway Heights, but what happened next is unclear. What is clear is that he was booked into the Spokane County Jail on a charge of kidnapping with sexual motivation.
"The information we have supports the arrest for Richard Welch for first degree kidnapping," Spokane Assistant Police Chief Rick Dobrow said.
In a jailhouse interview Thursday, Welch claimed he asked the boy if he wanted to go home with him around 3 a.m. Wednesday and the boy hopped into his truck.
"I asked him if he wants to go somewhere, where he's safe, he's safe with the police, but they weren't coming," Welch said.
Instead of calling 911 from a nearby gas station, or taking the child to the police -- Welch told investigators he took the child to his apartment in Airway Heights because "that's what he wanted to do."
It's not clear what happened inside, though Welch claimed he gave the boy milk and cookies before dropping him off to convenience store clerks at a Zip Trip five minutes later.
Welch said it was not a decision he would normally make, and when asked if he sexually assaulted the child, he claimed, "I didn't do no sexual to no little kid."
Welch claimed he's a former sex addict, but his mother said he has a mental illness. Welch's mother Kathryn said her son is bipolar and she hopes it's the last time he's arrested.
"I think it would be the best thing for him to be out at Eastern State Hospital as a permanent resident because he cannot cope with everyday life," she said.
The search warrant in this case said Welch was also a suspect in more than 40 incidents including alleged stalking and child luring. In court documents, the child's mother said her boy was not wondering around the street but taken from their home because he had a blanket with him, a blanket that was out of his reach.
Welch has been a suspect in dozens of cases, but has never been arrested until now. He claimed in the past he had given flowers to children, but when those incidents were investigated the victims said Welch never asked them to get into his car and that is required to charge someone with luring.
While Welch agreed to speak to KXLY Thursday he refused to make his first appearance in court.