William "Bill" Henderson


A 56-year-old Buellton man suspected of trying to kidnap a 2-year-old child from a supermarket was arrested Tuesday, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said.

William “Bill” Henderson was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of felony kidnapping and misdemeanor child endangerment, with bail set at $100,000.

Henderson, who is listed as the owner of Compass Wine Tours and Luxury Transportation in Solvang, allegedly plucked the child from a shopping cart and headed for the exit of the Albertsons market about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7.

“The mother was in shock for a moment, then realized [what was happening] and ran after him screaming,” sheriff’s Lt. Erik Raney said. “He dropped the child and fled the store.”

Raney said the child and parent were left “clearly distraught” over the attempted abduction.

Henderson was identified using video surveillance from the supermarket.

“As soon as our deputies looked at the surveillance footage, they knew who it was,” Raney said.

Henderson was arrested about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. He was still in custody Wednesday afternoon.

Deputies are looking for additional witnesses to the Aug. 7 incident and are concerned there might be other incidents involving Henderson that have not been reported to law enforcement.

Investigators are asking witnesses with information related to the investigation to call the Buellton Sheriff’s Station at 805-686-8150.

Anonymous tips can be left by calling 805-681-4171 or visiting www.sbsheriff.org/home/anonymous-tip/.

The city contracts with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement.

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This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.


County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.