CHICAGO — A federal jury has convicted an Indiana man of kidnapping a child from a Calumet City street as she walked home from school.
On Dec. 20, 2017, at approximately 3:30 p.m., BRYAN PROTHO grabbed the child as she walked on a sidewalk in 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 car and flag down a passing vehicle, and law enforcement was contacted. The kidnapping was captured on a residential surveillance system.
Protho was arrested on Dec. 27, 2017, and he has remained in federal custody since then. During the two-week trial in federal court in Chicago, the victim testified about her ordeal and identified Protho has her abductor.
The jury on Monday convicted Protho, 41, of East Chicago, Ind., on 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 R. Wood did not immediately set a sentencing date. A status hearing was scheduled for March 5, 2020.
The Calumet City Police Department led the investigation, with assistance from the FBI and the Lansing Police Department.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States 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 FBI; and Dennis Murrin, Jr., Chief of the Lansing Police Department. The officials thanked members of the community for providing valuable assistance in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher V. Parente and Kelly Guzman.