INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — As 6-year-old Jake Robel waited in the car while his mother dashed into a sandwich shop, a thief jumped behind the wheel and tried to shove the boy outside.
Inside the shop, someone yelled that Christy Robel's car was being stolen. She ran outside, pulled open the rear door and frantically tried to free her son, who was tangled in a seat belt.
The driver took off, the door closed and Jake remained entangled and trapped outside the rear driver's side door. The boy screamed for help and his mother yelled for the driver to stop. He didn't. It was the last time Robel saw her boy alive.
Jake D. Robel of Blue Springs died Tuesday before the driver of the Chevrolet Blazer could be stopped by pursuing motorists. Witnesses said a five-mile chase reached speeds of 80 mph.
Kim L. Davis, 34, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder, robbery, child abuse and kidnapping. He was jailed without bail. Bob Beaird, Jackson County prosecutor, said he knew very little about him.
As the horror unfolded Tuesday, Sharon Irwin was sitting in her car at the strip mall waiting for her granddaughter's dental appointment to end.
"Suddenly, I heard somebody screaming and hollering. I turned my head and saw this woman screaming and this Blazer driving by. I thought they had got in a fight and it was a husband or boyfriend driving off," Irwin said.
"Then I turned my head again and saw he was dragging something. I heard the woman scream, ‘That's my baby, that's my son."'
Irwin said the Blazer, which Robel had left running while she dashed inside the sandwich shop, flew out of the parking lot at a high speed.
During the chase, motorists along Interstate 70 east of Kansas City flashed their lights and honked horns in an attempt to stop the vehicle. It ended when motorists in two trucks and a car surrounded the Blazer at a stoplight.
Witnesses said motorists wrestled the man to the ground and waited for police to arrive; they also tied the man's legs with a rope.
Nearby, Jake lay dead, most of his clothes ripped away. An 11-year-old boy who emerged from one of the vehicles took a large white blanket and placed it over him.
Beaird would not speculate about whether the driver knew the child was being dragged.
But Irwin said it is difficult to believe the driver didn't see the boy, because he was on the driver's side of the car.
"I think that man needs to be dragged himself, just like he dragged that kid," she said. "He needs to get the death penalty. He killed an innocent kid."
The boy's family released a statement Wednesday night.
"We love him, miss him and will always keep his spirit with us. We want to take this opportunity to extend thanks and appreciation to the people who ended this tragedy. We also want to thank friends, neighbors and the community for the outpouring of offers and sympathy."
Meanwhile a 4-foot cross, a stuffed baby lamb, balloons and flowers stood at the corner where the chase ended. One of the bouquets held a note that read, "God Bless You, Jake. From Dad."