‘We made a hasty plan.’ Mansfield officers describe swift rescue of missing Brownsville girl

Mansfield police officers described in an interview the events that led to their rescue of a missing girl and the arrest of her suspected abductor on Saturday evening.

The 13-year-old was reportedly abducted in Brownsville on Saturday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. An 18-year-old man, Clayton Phillips, was arrested and charged with kidnapping.

During an interview conducted by various media outlets Sunday, Sgt. Brian Raines with the Mansfield Police Department talked about how he found the Kia Optima described in the Amber Alert issued for the missing girl. Brownsville police contacted Mansfield police and told the department Phillips and the girl might be in Mansfield, Raines said. Brownsville is located in the Rio Grande Valley, about 520 miles from Mansfield.

Raines and other officers planned a search for the car near the 2000 block of North Main Street, which Brownsville police said was the area they believed Phillips would be in. Raines found the Kia Optima backed into a spot of grass off West Debbie Lane.

Raines and other officers created a quick plan for searching the car. Phillips appeared to be asleep in the front seat, but the officers knew they had to hurry in case he either woke up or was only pretending to sleep, Raines said.

“We made a hasty plan,” Raines said in the interview. “We had a kidnapped child. This is the Amber Alert vehicle.”

The officers descended on the car in the darkness, flashlights lighting their way. Body camera footage of the rescue shows multiple officers surrounding the car. They did not have guns drawn, Raines said, because their priority was the girl’s safety.

“What we’re thinking about is the child,” he said. “Our priority is to separate them, to protect her. So that’s what we did.”

One officer went to the passenger’s side door as other officers pulled open the driver’s side. Several officers pulled Phillips from the car and ordered him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Another officer picked up the girl and got her out of the car.

Phillips put up minimal resistant and was handcuffed.

“It went smooth and went exactly as we planned,” Raines said.

Officers believe the girl, who lives in Brownsville, and Phillips met online, and Phillips may have family in the North Texas area.

“A huge shout out to Sergeant Raines, Officer Hernandez, Officer Koenig, and Officer Killian for the diligent police work, using their investigative skills to locate the bad guy and rescue this child,” Mansfield police said in a Facebook post. “This teamwork reinforces the need for all community members to be on the lookout when alerts are publicized, even when they are far away from our hometown.”