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Charges: Man attempted to kidnap 5 Newport children

Vanholy Var, 36

NEWPORT — A near-miss kidnapping of five children June 13 has left Newport residents rattled.

Vanholy Var, 36, of St. Paul, was under a 48-hour hold as of Friday morning, June 15, according to Washington County jail records. He faces charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property.

According to the complaint filed June 13:

Var was driving erratically in the area of Sixth and Seventh streets around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and nearly hit a pedestrian before getting out of the vehicle. Witnesses reported him walking with no shoes on and speaking nonsensically.

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Authorities said Var then approached a home in the 600 block of Fifth Street where five children ages 1 through 14 were home alone. He knocked on the door and asked for a glass of water. When the oldest child brought it to him, Var allegedly forced himself into the house and pulled all five kids outside. He told them he was protecting them from robbers and murderers in the area.

Var reportedly made the kids follow him, and he yelled about murders and robberies to other kids nearby.

A neighbor stepped around the corner while they were all walking, and Var grabbed one of the kids, causing her pain, according to the complaint. The oldest child jumped between Var and his sister, allowing them all to break away. All the children ran back to the house and locked the door.

This story is developing.

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