Father says transient tried to molest his daughter in front of him
Justin was walking through the Shelton Walmart last Friday with his two daughters. They make the early morning trip every Friday for a treat before school.
“We were walking through the store as we always do, and my 8-year-old was behind me and all of a sudden I turned around — she was literally right behind me — and this guy came out of nowhere and bear hugged her from the back.”
Justin was still holding the hand of his 4-year-old daughter, shocked at what was happening.
“He then put her on the ground and that’s when I started moving and went after him to push him off,” he said. “He was much bigger than I was. He ended up removing my daughter’s pants and underpants. That’s when I went into really crazy mode and was able to somehow push him off.”
“We all got up, I grabbed my kids and held them tight. He got up and exposed himself in front of us and said something,” he said. “I was screaming for help … all of a sudden a huge group of people surrounded him. I took my daughters to an aisle and waited for police to show up.”
Shelton Walmart suspect
The Shelton Police Department’s report restates much of Justin’s account. Shelton police say the incident happened around 7:45 a.m. Friday, June 8, 2018. They responded to reports of a man exposing himself to a child under the age of 10. Police arrested a 32-year-old suspect at the store.
According to the Mason County custody report, and Shelton’s iFiberOne news radio, the suspect is Joseph Paz Alvarez who was in superior court on kidnapping and assault charges Monday. Bail was set at $100,000. Prosecutors wanted higher bail set, arguing that the man is a danger to the community. According to iFiberOne, Paz-Alvarez “said he was under ‘U.S. government mind control’ when he committed the crimes.”
“He’s a transient from California,” Justin explained. “I don’t believe he was living in the Walmart parking lot. He was living out of his vehicle, though … The guy, to me, seemed like he was on drugs. But they are searching to find out if there are any priors and they can’t find any. It’s so odd for someone to just decide this is what they are going to do and they are going to do it right in front of their dad.”
Shelton police say the 32-year-old suspect is from Ventura, Calif. He has been living in his black 2004 Lincoln Navigator over the past few months. That vehicle has been impounded as evidence. Detectives are investigating the suspect’s criminal history as well as similar incidents in other jurisdictions.
Justin said he is talking with counselors about how to help his daughter after the traumatic incident.
“She’s doing OK,” Justin said. “She isn’t talking about it a whole lot.”
He said that he isn’t wasting too much energy worrying about the man now in custody.
“Honestly, I don’t care what happens to him,” Justin said. “I am more concerned about my family. I am more concerned about both of my daughters’ well-being.”
“I don’t really care about what happens to him, but I definitely don’t want him to be able to do this to anybody else,” he said. “That’s my concern. To keep everybody safe.”
The father says he was never expecting anything like this to happen, especially in such circumstances. That’s his message to other parents.
“Even when you think you are as safe as you possibly can be, anything can happen in an instant,” Justin said. “My daughter was right behind me, maybe 6-8 feet behind me when all of this happened.”
“You hear about those stories, and you never think it’s going to happen to you or someone you know, let alone in a small city and in the middle of the day,” he said. “It’s important for me to share this story to tell parents to hold their kids a little tighter.”