As they left their Kleinmachnow home together around 8 am on Thursday morning, the child was torn away from her 41-year-old mother by a masked man. He threatened the mother with a weapon and pressed a note into her hand.
The note contained demands for a ransom and threatened to harm the girl if she contacted police or the media.
The mother alerted local police, who kept their investigation secret for the entire day until they arrested the man.
On Thursday evening there was a money exchange. About 30 minutes later the man released the girl after some 13 hours of holding her hostage. He was arrested shortly thereafter.
The girl was returned to her parents around 9:30 pm.
“According to what we know, she made it through the abduction unharmed,” police chief Rainer Kann said during a press conference on Friday afternoon.
The 44-year-old divorced father of three from Berlin told police he had been motivated by money problems to kidnap the child. He remains in police custody and faces charges of kidnapping and extortion.
Kann praised the cooperation between law enforcement and the media, members of which remained silent in the interest of the investigation.
Information provided by the girl's mother and another witness were key to solving the case, he said.